Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-un has conducted a series of purges of senior officials since coming to power Reuters

An official overseeing a terrapin farm in North Korea has been executed on the orders of the country's dictator Kim Jong-un, South Korean media reports.

Daily NK said the unnamed official was shot to death after it came to light that a number of baby terrapins had died due to lack of adequate food and water in the holding tanks.

Kim had inspected the farm in the capital city Pyongyang as part of an official visit in May and had reportedly lashed out at everyone present when he saw the state of the terrapins.

He reportedly dismissed the staff's explanations of electrical, water and equipment problems for the death of the creatures as "nonsensical complaints".

"The manager was shot and killed after the Marshal (Kim) made his field guidance tour to the terrapin farm near Taedong River in Pyongyang," Daily NK quoted an anonymous source as saying.

"He was executed because some of the tanks were not adequately supplied with food and water, leading to the death of a lot of terrapins.

"Some parts of the farm weren't able to receive water in a timely manner because of a lack of electricity. That fact in conjunction with food shortages caused all the baby terrapins in the facilities to die."

This is not the first time North Korea's supreme leader has impulsively ordered an execution over perceived incompetence.

In April, the country's defence minister Hyon Yong-chol was killed by an anti-aircraft gun in front of an audience of several people for not carrying out Kim's instructions.

The dictator also purged 15 senior officials earlier in the year, including two vice-ministers.

The Daily NK source said the purge of several high-ranking officials had driven party cadres to go out of their way to express their loyalty to Kim.

News reports from North Korea are notoriously hard to corroborate. The government tightly controls all information coming in and out of the country and seeks to actively mould information at its source.