Southern Taiwan crocodile star to 'seek career' in China

Southern Taiwan crocodile star to 'seek career' in China
Taipei, July 30 (CNA) A famous crocodile kept in a private zoo in southern Taiwan's Tainan City will stop giving performances due to tightening animal protection rules, its keeper said Saturday, adding that it will be sent to China "for a new career."

Chu Hsi-ho, dubbed the"King of Crocodiles," said he has to close his zoo by the end of July because shows using the 5.8-meter-long, 1.25-metric ton-heavy reptile will no longer be allowed under animal protection law. Animal protection groups had complained that the zoo's treatment of its animals is inhumane, and that "Hsiaoho," the crocodile, was kept in a small and dry pond, in which it could barely move.

Although Chu has kept Hsiaoho for more than 30 years, he said it will be impossible for him to keep it anymore.

To allow the public to bid farewell to the beloved crocodile star, admission to the zoo will be free on Sunday, he said.

Chu said his dismay is shared by many fans. He added that one of them called to offer 100 milkfish on Sunday so that Hsiaoho could enjoy "authentic Taiwanese flavor" for one last time.

Chu has not disclosed whether he has sold Hsiaoho for money or whether he's simply giving the crocodile away. He has also not revealed which zoo in China Hsiaoho will be moved to or how he will be treated. (By Yang Ssu-rui and Lee Hsin-Yin)