A French zoo is expressing its outrage at the "stupidity and disrespect" of visitors who used their nails to scratch their names into the back of one of its rhinos.
Photos of the 35-year-old female white rhinoceros with the words "Camille" and "Julien" etched into its skin first emerged on social media earlier this week, according to the AFP.
The incident occurred at the La Palmyre zoo in southern France, which houses more than 1,600 mammals and receives more than 700,000 visitors each year. The park said it would not take any legal action against the unknown perpetrators; however, it strongly disavowed the actions in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
"The park's management is outraged by the stupidity and disrespect of the authors," the zoo's post said.
The post went on to say that visitors can reach over and touch the rhinos when viewing them in the zoo's enclosure, a "moving" experience it said allows people to appreciate "the diversity and beauty of nature."
Another example why zoos and circuses with animals should go. Imbeciles in a French Zoo in La Palmyre carved their names in the skin of a Rhino. Only in zoos a Rhino can be approached as if it was a domesticated animal. pic.twitter.com/GpFrGMuNkQ
Park management said it was able to remove the writing with a brush, a process it said was done without harming the rhino, which is named Noelle. The zoo said Noelle was relatively unfazed by the incident.
"The animal may not even have realised," Pierre Caille, the zoo's director, told the AFP. "We quickly brushed the writing away and there was no harm to the animal."
Caille also told the AFP that the park would consider installing surveillance cameras to ensure that something like this doesn't happen again.
Rhinos, World Rhino Day
Rhinos, World Rhino Day
OL PEJETA CONSERVANCY, Kenya - Mohammed Doyo, head caretaker, caresses Sudan. The last male northern white rhino left on the planet, Sudan lives alone in a 10-acre enclosure, with 24-hour guards. With just five northern white rhinos left on earth - three of them here in Kenya - conservationists are searching for a scientific breakthrough that could save a population that is already effectively extinct. (Nichole Sobecki for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE - SEPTEMBER 13: Black Rhinoceros at the Milwaukee County Zoo on September 13, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
A rhinoceros bull stands in a farm near Vaalwater in the Limpopo Province on March 17, 2015. Official statistics for 2014 show that a record number of 1215 rhinoceros were poached in South Africa. AFP PHOTO / STEFAN HEUNIS (Photo credit should read STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Three-week-old female White Rhinoceros runs with her mother Tanda, 21, at the Ramat Gan Safari, an open-air zoo near Tel Aviv, on September 3, 2014. The Safari Park reported that they have had two male White Rhinos born at the facility but she is the first female born there in 20 years. The new female rhino will eventually be transferred to other zoos to take part in the White Rhino reproduction project aimed at increasing the population of this species in a zoo. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
SOUTH AFRICA - 2014/06/04: 6 months old White rhinoceros or square-lipped rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) baby in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOUTH AFRICA - 2014/06/04: White rhinoceros or square-lipped rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) sparing in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa are the second largest land mammals in the world. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)