This is the gruesome moment zookeepers in China push a live donkey into an enclosure filled with hungry tigers.

Visitors at the zoo in Changzhou watched on as the helpless animal soon found itself in the jaws of the ferocious beasts, with no chance of escape.

The video of the incident sees a group of zookeepers push the animal into a moat of water, with one of the tigers then jumping on its back and biting at its neck.

Gasps can be heard as another tiger tries to claw at its terrified prey from the edge of the water as the donkey desperately tries to free itself.

Despite its attempts to escape, one of the beasts drags the animal by the neck towards the other tigers.

The muddy moat can been seen turning blood-red as the donkey thrashes around while being held under the water.

The video, believed to have been taken on Monday (5 June) at Yancheng Wild Animal World, ends with four tigers surrounding their soon-to-be meal.

According to the video, it took the tigers 30 minutes to kill the animal. Some spoke out against the "cruel" act online, describing it as "animal abuse".

One person wrote on video sharing site LiveLeak: "I have no problems if it happens in nature, that's how nature works, but in this case, it is just animal abuse. And no, it is not necessary for their health, this is just a bad excuse for the sick show."

Another wrote: "A donkey dying to tigers in a natural habitat – natural. An alive donkey being thrown into a cage full of tigers – sadistic."

Local media reported that the zookeepers next tried to throw a sheep into the enclosure, but a row between bosses of the zoo led to security arriving to put a stop to the live feeding.