Chinese zoo bear is filmed guzzling Coca-Cola in its cage, surrounded by empty plastic bottles

Anger is growing after a video emerged of a brown bear guzzling a bottle of Coca-Cola handed to it by a tourist at a zoo in China.

The bear is seen sitting in its cage before someone hands it a small bottle full of the fizzy beverage through the fence

The animal readily takes it with its snout, then grabs it with both paws while enclosed at the zoo, in Dalian, in north-eastern China's Liaoning Province.

In seconds the bear untwists the cap and opens the bottle, then gulps down the drink.

A number of empty bottles can also be seen around in the bear's cage.

The video has attracted widespread attention on Douyin - China's version of TikTok - with numerous people criticising the visitors for giving the animal a drink high in sugar that could harm its health.

Many more blamed the zoo for apparently allowing the reckless behaviour to happen.

The same issue was reported back in 2017 when an unnamed visitor told local media: 'Dozens of tourists lined up to feed the animals, and two poor bears kept drinking Coke in the middle.'

One user commented: 'Why do zoos let visitors pass Coke or other treats to bears, which could potentially kill them?'

Another user wrote: 'Can you put an end to this kind of behaviour? I'm truly begging you.'

Following the online outrage, zoo staff claimed giving the animals sodas is strictly prohibited.

They criticised tour guides who often take groups into the zoo and allegedly suggest that they give the brown bears drinks to provide an interactive experience.

Zoo staff said: 'In response to the problems reported by netizens, the park has issued another notice in the WeChat [a Chinese messaging app] group of the tour guide not to induce tourists to feed Coke.

'In the future, we will consider adopting hard isolation measures such as adding a net to the cage and setting up fences to prevent tourists from feeding the bears with Coke,' according to local media.

The staff added they would also strengthen supervision in the future.

Local authorities also demanded the zoo immediately rectify the situation and reminded travel agencies to notify their employees that giving the animals food and drinks is forbidden.