A publicity stunt by a Chinese zoo that married off a ram and doe on Valentine's Day at a gala ceremony telecast live has stirred up a controversy, with some calling it a joke and others demanding action against organisers.

Slideshow: Goat-doe wedding

The Goat-Doe wedding ceremony in southwestern Yunnan province was broadcast live on Weibo.com yesterday.

It made waves among the Chinese public with the scared deer sprinting all around in panic. Experts say deer are cervid while sheep are bovid, making it impossible for them to produce any offspring, but many internet users have expressed their support anyway, Xinhua news agency reported.

ram-doe wedding
A ram named Changmao and a doe named Chunzi tie the knot
in a wedding ceremony at Yunnan Wild Animal Park on
Valentine's Day. Pic/AFP 

While some welcome the ceremony others frowned at it saying the wedding was simply a joke and human beings should be held responsible for disturbing the animals' lives. "Just leave the poor animals alone," wrote one in the blog.

Wang Dajun, a conservation biology researcher with Peking University said," People may have arranged the wedding out of goodwill, but they should have considered the feelings of the animals and showed them some respect".

Wang advised people not to attach too much human behaviours with animals, such as staging wedding pictures or holding a wedding ceremony, because they will not appreciate them as humans do. "The management of zoos and wildlife parks should be based on the habitual nature of animals," he said.

Yesterday, perhaps a case of cold hooves on her wedding day prompted Chunzi, a doe set to marry Changmao, a ram, to flee her wedding ceremony on Valentine's Day at a wildlife park in Kunming.

Frightened by the many visitors and the unfamiliar environment created by the ceremony's arrangements, the bride scampered away to the familiarity of the park's deer field, leaving the groom wandering around restlessly.

Later the wedding ceremony was reorganised at the Deer Field, which the two animals were familiar with. Allured by carrots, the couple finished the ceremony by passing through an archway symbolising a gateway to happiness.