ACTIVISTS have triggered a bitter dispute between zoo and circus bosses.
After receiving numerous complaints from animal rights activists, Guangzhou Zoo, one of the largest zoos in China, decided to axe all animal performances laid on by a top circus.
But Tamed Beast Circus which has been staging six performances a day at the zoo for the past 24 years says that it has nowhere else to go.
It is now feared the dispute between the zoo and the circus will have to be settled in court.
The circus shows have attracted more than 10 million spectators over the past two decades and it claims meddling activists are to blame for the dispute with the zoo.
The circus also claims to have cared for such animals as elephants, gorillas, Siberian tigers, black bears and parrots.
Animal shows have a long history in China and are protected by the government as part of the national cultural heritage.
However, animal rights activists, have been actively campaigning to shut down the circus blaming it for the mistreatment of animals.
The circus has now been told that the famous zoo will not extend its contract.
The zoo said it would settle the dispute in court.