While it is not clear how this particular zoo feeds its animals, Li noted that Chinese zoos often encourage visitors to feed the animals themselves. If this is happening, it could be negatively affecting the bear’s health.
“This is a huge issue,” Li said. “Visitors bring their own food, [which] may be harmful to animals. Or they feed them anything in hand, such as cigarette butts. There were cases in China [where] visitors dump concentrated acid [onto] zoo animals. The bear could be a victim of this feeding activity encouraged or allowed by the zoo.”
Besides the fact that the bear is skinny, he doesn’t live in the greatest environment. Based on the photographs, it looks like he lives inside a concrete and rock enclosure with only a small pool of water to drink from. Food wrappers and other trash litter the ground, which Li believes could be evidence that visitors feed the animals.