(ECNS) -- A zoo keeper in the southwestern city of Guiyang is suspected of torturing a tiger and broadcasting the abuse live online.
In the footage, the keeper is seen pulling one of the tiger's hind limbs and its tail, scratching its ear, and occasionally riding on its back. The tiger appeared impatient and stared at the man throughout, and blood stains were later found on a stone at the zoo.
About 30 video clips have been shared by the same netizen over the past two months, and all show similar acts of teasing and provoking the tiger.
The keeper told West China Metropolis Daily that he had been with the tiger for a long time and that there was no need for any safety concerns. He also said he had not mistreated the animal, and that the zoo had not opposed his behavior.
The entrance fee to visit the zoo, which is located in Guiyang's Xiuwen County, is 120 yuan () and visitors can watch animal performances.
The zoo later also said the trainer had not provoked the tiger. "People view the events from different perspectives and animal issues in general are quite sensitive these days, so it's natural that some netizens have their objections," said a staff member in the zoo's office.
A government office said it will soon investigate the case, without giving further details.
Several shocking accidents involving tigers have taken place in China in recent times. In July 2016, a woman was killed at a safari park in Beijing, after she got out of a car and was attacked by a tiger. Then in January, a man was mauled to death by a tiger after he entered its enclosure at a zoo in eastern Ningbo city.