These images apparently show tourists feeding a black bear cub wearing a red cape and walking around like a human.
The footage was shot at an amusement park in the city of Jinan, which is located in eastern China’s Shandong province, between November last year and February, before being shared online on Friday, 11th March.
The indoor park area is reportedly part of a large amusement park with indoor and outdoor facilities called Carl’s Pet Manor.
The park is said to include an exhibition area covering over 7,000 square metres (75,347 square feet). There is also reportedly an “animal interaction” area, where visitors can experience close contact with parrots, marmots and other animals that have reportedly been trained by professional animal handlers.
The footage was reportedly shot while the bear’s trainer was taking a break, with the tourists feeding the young animal with what appear to be carrots dangling from a piece of string tied to the end of a stick.
Many netizens on Chinese social media commented that the footage was cute and that the bear was adorable, but others pointed out that it amounted to animal cruelty.
Local animal rights activist Hu Chunmei, who is reportedly the director of an organisation called Save Performance Animals, said that black bears naturally walk on all four of their paws and will only stand for a short time.
Chunmei added that the bear seen in the footage will have taken a long time to train for it to be able to walk around on its hind legs for so long.
For bears to be able to do this, the trainer will reportedly typically tie a rope around their neck from early infancy in order to literally keep them on their toes.
PETA Director Elisa Allen told AsiaWire: “What people don’t see is that bear cubs are cruelly chained upright against a wall to force them to learn to stand and taken from their frantic mothers to be handed around like toys to take photos with.
“A PETA Asia investigation into the wild-animal entertainment industry in China reveals despicably cruel training methods.
“While PETA Asia is pushing for legislative change in China, which would afford a smidgeon of protection to animals who currently lack any, everyone can take action by never visiting any establishment anywhere in the world that allows human interaction with wild animals or at which animals are confined and forced to perform.”