Starfish Dies in Tragic Photo-Op Accident at Shanghai’s New Natural History Museum

A display pool at the Shanghai Natural History Museum. Photo courtesy of Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.
A display pool at the Shanghai Natural History Museum. Photo courtesy of Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.

Everyone knows you’re not supposed to touch the art at a museum, but what about the fish?

Following the death of a starfish in a tragic photo op accident, Shanghai’s new Natural History Museum, which opened less than a month ago, has issued a “stern warning” to all visitors, the Daily Mail reports.

“We asked them to put them back and taught them how to properly touch the sea creatures,” Gu Jieyan, director of the display service department of the museum, told the Shanghai Daily.

The museum has suffered other damages in the short time it has been open to the public. Too eager to touch, one tourist broke the claw of a plastic Komodo Dragon.

While many museums around the world have banned selfie sticks—not the least due to irreparable damages to priceless artifacts—some visitors to the Shanghai museum have taken photo-ops to a whole new level: Photos have allegedly surfaced online of a child urinating into a display.

Is tourism in China becoming synonymous with vandalism? The country’s national tourism authority recently started a blacklist to prevent this sort of “uncivilized” behavior, following the antics of unruly tourists, like one who threw a cup of hot noodles at a flight attendant.

But the answer could come in the form of another museum. As respect for elders declines amidst the rapid economic development of the country, a museum promoting traditional values has opened in Sichuan earlier this year.

To prevent further incidents, the museum says it will increase patrols and fit glass tops over the pools. RIP little starfish.

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