"I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes," said Yunnan Wild Animal Park vice president Yang Dehai as he tried to comprehend how a pack of five dogs got into the zoo in northeast Kunming last week and went on a bloody rampage, killing six protected deer.
Zookeepers became aware that something was wrong last Thursday morning when they heard the sound of barking dogs and yowling deer. In addition to killing six deer, the dogs also wounded two other deer and an emu.
Officials at the 186-hectare zoo said they were baffled about how the dogs could have gotten in: the park is completely encircled by a 2.5-meter-high chain-link fence. The police were called shortly after the attack and inspected the entire length of the fence without finding any holes. Zoo officials also said that workers inspect the fence every day.
Zoo management said it was highly unlikely that the dogs could climb such a high fence and that someone must have purposefully lifted the dogs over the fence and released them into the zoo.
If it was intentional, motivations for the attack are unclear at this point, but a zookeeper suggested that the dogs' coordinated movement could be evidence that the mongrel dogs were trained for hunting. The dogs acted together to drive the deer onto a steep hillside before delivering well-placed fatal bites.
Three of the five dogs were beaten to death by zookeepers. A Yunnan Net reporter who saw the dog carcasses agreed with the zoo's assessment that the dogs looked well-fed and groomed, which supports the theory that they were domesticated rather than feral.
Two of the deer fatalities were fallow deer (Dama dama) and four were sika deer (Cervus nippon). The sika deer is a top level protected species in China, where very few wild pockets of the species exist.
Images of the attack's aftermath are available here, but be warned that they are somewhat graphic.
Sika deer image: Wikimedia commons© Copyright 2005-2019 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.