(ECNS) -- A wild wolf in Hoh Xil, northwest China's Qinghai Province has gained weight due to frequent feeding by tourists and drivers, as shown in a video shared by a netizen.
In the footage, the rotund wolf wags its tail at passing vehicles and even rolls onto its back to display its belly in a bid for food. The video quickly went viral, sparking a wave of online concern and discussion.
In July this year, a woman surnamed Kong uploaded footage recounting her encounter with a wild wolf while driving through Hoh Xil. She stepped out of her car to share her beef jerky with the hungry wolf, noting how skinny the animal appeared.
She explained that she felt sorry for it and didn't think twice about offering it a meal.
Feeding wild animals isn't an unusual practice among tourists in the region. In addition to wild wolves, brown bears have also received their share of handouts from visitors.
In early October, a netizen posted a video in which tourists fed several wild brown bears at a scenic spot in Qinghai Province, saying that these bears often approach the village seeking food and that there seemed to be a "harmonious" relationship between locals and bears.
However, experts like Dai Qiang, a researcher at the Chengdu Institute of Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, warn that such behavior can have adverse effects on these animals, as they may become increasingly dependent on humans.
Dai, who has dedicated significant time to studying wild animals like giant pandas and wild wolves, emphasizes the importance of not interfering with wildlife unless they are endangered species facing challenges caused by human intervention.
The natural ecosystem involves a complex food chain, and wild animal births, deaths, and survival are governed by natural laws, Dai stressed.