Adding to the depressing fast-growing pile of “Animals That Died for Your Instagram Likes,” two peacocks at southwest China’s Yunnan Wild Animal Park have died after visitors picked up the birds and manhandled them for photos, “violently [plucking] out their feathers,” according to Mashable.
The incident occurred on Feb. 12, and one of the animals literally died of fright within a half-hour of being grabbed. Peacocks generally don’t approach people, and visitors are expressly warned from touching the animals, but the individuals lured the birds in with food and grabbed their tails. The zoo hasn’t said if it will press charges against the individuals, but hopefully the answer is a resounding “yes.”
Zookeepers rushed to stop the people when they saw what was happening, but it was too late. Other zoo patrons posted pictures of the perpetrators on the Chinese social media site Weibo.
Dr. Li, a veterinarian with the Kunming East Hospital, told City Times that peacocks can indeed be frightened to death, and that they can suffer heart attacks if exposed to large shocks.
This disheartening selfie crime occured in the same month a rare dolphin was ripped from Argentinean waters by selfie-seeking tourists, that animal was left to die on the beach after the photo spree finished.