“It’s skin and bones, looks so sad,” the visitor wrote on Weibo, according to the Hong Kong Free Press. “Was it abused? Or hungry? Should we be showing kids bears like this? Is there anyone who can save them?”
The photos went viral, sparking international outrage amongst animal lovers. In response, the zoo made a post on its official Weibo account, arguing that the bear was simply growing and shedding fur.
“The brown bear is just over 1 year old — it is going through a phase when its skeleton is growing rapidly, it won’t retain fat like fully-grown bears do,” the zoo said, according to Hong Kong Free Press. “Besides, it is shedding season — the bears will shed their thick fur to help them get through the hot summer, therefore they will look thin.”