'Outrage' after visitors at French zoo scratch graffiti onto rhino's back

MADRID, SPAIN - 2019/08/06: An Indian rhinoceros cools off in water at their enclosure in Madrid zoo, where high temperatures reached 37º degrees Celsius during the afternoon hours.
Spanish's weather agency AEMET said that temperatures are expected to exceed 41° celsius degrees tomorrow Wednesday in southern Spain. Yellow heat warnings have been issued in parts of the provinces of Malaga and Granada. Orange heat warnings, which meaning important risk, are in place for Murcia. (Photo by John Milner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

A rhino at a zoo in France has had two names scratched into its skin, sparking outrage from zoo officials.

The names "Julie" and "Camille" were etched into the back of the 35-year-old female rhino, Noëlle, reports AFP news agency.

Officials at the La Palmyre zoo in Royan in southwestern France said they were "outraged by the stupidity and disrespect" of the visitors but would not be taking legal action.

The names were scratched into a layer of dust, sand and dead skin by the visitors using their fingernails, the zoo's director Pierre Caille told AFP.

He said the rhino was unharmed by the graffiti.

"The animal may not even have realised," he said. "We quickly brushed the writing away and there was no harm to the animal".

Officials said it was not unusual for visitors to touch the rhino, but "the vast majority" of people treated it "respectfully".



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