A disturbing video of an animal trainer putting red lipstick on a beluga whale has caused an uproar in China.
Web users have slammed the female keeper’s behaviour while animal rights group PETA Asia has launched an investigation.
The aquarium has issued a public apology and expressed its ‘deep remorse’ after the video became trending on Chinese social media.
A trending video shows a beluga whale being given red lipstick by its trainer at an aquarium in China (left). The mammal moves its head backwards after the makeup was applied (right)
The video in question was posted on June 9 on Dou Yin (抖音), a popular Chinese video app.
The 10-second clip shows a female animal trainer painting the mammal’s lips in red as it came out of the water.
The clip was believed to be filmed at the Sun Asia Ocean World in Dalian, Liaoning Province.
In the video, the beluga whale can be seen waiting patiently as the female trainer drew a full lip at the tip of its mouth.
The video came with a post which apparently referred to the beluga’s appearance. The post said ‘incredibly pretty’.
The trainer puts the red lipstick on the beluga whale and says it becomes ‘prettier’ in the video
Web users worry the chemicals in the makeup could cause harm to the mammal’s health (left). The trainer has been accused of using the whale to get popular on social media (right)
Web users have been enraged by the video, which has been deleted by its original uploader on Dou Yin. People insist that animal keepers ‘should not put any chemical substances on the mammals’.
‘Is it safe to put lipsticks on a whale? Have she thought about that before putting it on?’ Asked ‘fuyoutoi’.
While ‘xiongmoize’ said: ‘I can’t believe people can do such things to make themselves popular.
‘There are many ways to get more followers and likes, but please don’t harm the beluga whale.’
PETA Asia was notified of the incident by a web user with the screen name ‘Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’ on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.
According to influential Weibo account ‘dltopnews’, the apparent trainer said the beluga whale was ‘prettier and prettier’ in the video.
PETA Asia told MailOnline that they had previously caught Sun Asia Ocean World for keeping the belugas and dolphins in shallow tanks, which could pose danger to the animals’ health.
‘Those sea mammals who have social needs and vast water were so anxious and living in pain’, said press officer Keith Guo.
There are more than 200,000 beluga whales across the world, according to IUCN’s red list
The Sun Asia Ocean World in Dalian apologised to the public for the incident today.
In a statement, the aquarium expressed deep remorse and self-criticism for its employee’s misconduct.
‘Hereby, we express our sincere apology to all the friends who like Sun Asia Ocean World,’ said the statement.
The aquarium claimed that the keeper in the video left the company last month. It also explained that the video was filmed in 2017 and uploaded to Dou Yin by another person, who is not the trainer in question.
According to World Wildlife Fund, beluga whales are extremely sociable mammals that live, hunt and migrate together in pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales.
There are over 200,000 beluga whales in the world, stated the red list on International Union for Conservation of Nature.