The “violent behaviour” of Chinese tourists has led to the death of two peacocks at a city zoo, mainland media reports.

The two birds are believed to have died from shock

after visitors picked them up to pose with them in photographs and plucked out their feathers at Yunnan Zoo – also known as Yunnan Wild Animal Park – in Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan province, the newspaper WCC Daily reported on Sunday.

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Photographs taken by one visitor at the zoo, which were circulated online, show tourists holding up a peacock as they pose for photographs.

The newspaper report said the zoo had confirmed two peacocks had died.

The report also said that some visitors had plucked out the feathers of the peacocks.

Yunnan Zoo confirmed that one of its peacocks had died on February 12 – during Lunar New Year – as a result of the “violent behaviour” of tourists.

Although the cause of this peacock’s death was still under investigation, park officials said they believed they it had died because of shock after being held forcefully by visitors.

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The report had attracted more than 20,000 comments by Monday morning, many of which condemned the actions of the tourists and also asked what action the zoo should take.

“Without the zoo’s permission, who is allowed to hold the peacocks for photos?” said one person in a post on Tencent’s weibo social media website. “[People] have to pay to take intimate photos with animals!”

Another person wrote: “Why are tourists allowed to have close contact with the wild animals in the zoo?”

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A third person wrote: “China must set up a database and prevent such low-quality visitors from entering tourist attractions.”

According to the zoo’s website, the park covers an area of 1,133 hectares.

Its more than 10,000 wild animals include about 200 different species, including pandas, rhinoceros, and white tigers.

The entry fee to the park for adults is 80 yuan (HK$95).

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