Visitors to Perth Zoo have been reminded to keep their distance from the animals after a family was photographed inside an animal enclosure allegedly grabbing at a giant tortoise.
Photos shared with Yahoo News Australia show a man, woman and young child beyond the fence in the Galapagos tortoise enclosure on Sunday.
The man can be seen taking a photo of the child as the woman holds her inches away from the tortoise.
A woman visiting the zoo said she was stunned to see the family climbing over the fence on two separate occasions.
"The family climbed over the fence and log barricade twice so each of their kids could get a turn grabbing and touching the tortoise," she told Yahoo.
"They were clearly english speakers with Australian accents who understood us and the signs."
She said her group and others tried to remonstrate with the family but were met with a hostile response from the father who continued to take photos.
He allegedly told onlookers to "let the kids f****** experience it".
"The mum ignored us completely, just laughing and forcing their daughter, who was crying at this point because of the commotion, to grab onto the tortoise," the visitor said.
She said it was evident the tortoise has "suffered" and quickly flagged staff down to inform them of the incident however the family had left the scene.
The incident was shared online, prompting comments that labelled the act "disrespectful" and "entitled".
Perth Zoo responds to incident
A Perth Zoo spokesperson reiterated to Yahoo News Australia the importance of abiding by the zoo's rules.
"Our animal exhibits and viewing areas are designed to ensure the safety of both our animals and visitors," they said.
"We ask that visitors to the Zoo respect all signage and fencing when admiring our animals to ensure they can feel safe and happy in their own homes."
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