A zoo keeper was sacked after tourists were filmed riding on the back of two tortoises - sparking outrage among animal-lovers.
The footage shows a
man sitting astride the rare Aldabra tortoise and gripping the top of its shell as it walks slowly around the enclosure
Lian Pan, 35, lost his job after the clip went viral on social media.
Peng Ku, a spokesman for the Xiamen Haicang Wild Animal Park, in Xiamen City, China, said that the riding of giant tortoises is strictly forbidden in the park grounds.
He said: "An animal caretaker has been dismissed for allowing visitors to ride on the backs of our giant tortoises.
"We are also looking into whether this was a one off incident, or if it was something that had happened more often and whether other keepers or staff were involved."
The two giant tortoises in question are a 69-year-old, 150kg male known as Maojia, and a 54-year-old, 140kg female known as Maolu, both gifted to the zoo by the island nation Mauritius in 2012.
The Aldabra giant tortoise is said to be one of the longest living and one of the largest tortoise species in the world, capable of weighing up to 250 kilogrammes.
The tortoise is also listed as a class II protected species by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.