Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 22nd, 2008
Okay, so this is more news of wild animals continuing to act like animals, and humans being stupid. In this case, it is with one of the “classic animals of discovery” in cryptozoology.
The BBC News is reporting that a man has been attacked by a giant panda at a zoo park in southern China, after he climbed into its enclosure hoping to cuddle the creature.
The 20-year-old student had ignored warning signs and scaled a two-metre (6.5ft) barrier to get into the pen.
State media say the panda bit him on his arms and legs, and he had to be rescued by the animal’s keepers.
Speaking from his hospital bed, the injured man said the panda had looked so cute he had just wanted to hug it.
The incident happened on Friday, November 21, at Qixing Park in Guilin, a popular tourist attraction in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which houses a small zoo and panda exhibit.
A worker at the park, quoted by the official Xinhua news agency, said there are clear signs warning visitors not to go beyond the fences for their own safety, “but the young man ignored them.”
The panda, Yang Yang, was apparently scared by the intruder and bit the man’s arms and legs, he said.
Two foreign visitors who saw the incident alerted keepers who rushed to the student’s rescue and calmed the panda.
The man – named only as Liu – was taken to hospital. He underwent an operation and doctors said he would stay in hospital for a few days, although his life was not in danger.
Liu, who is studying at a university in Guilin, said he had been visiting the park with fellow students.
“Yang Yang was so cute and I just wanted to cuddle him,” he told Xinhua from his hospital bed.
[I certainly hope his university advisors give Mr. Liu some advice on taking targeted courses to learn in the future what animals are okay to cuddle and which are not cuddle material. Incredible. - Loren.]
“I didn’t expect he would attack… I don’t remember how many bites I got.”
Yang Yang – whose name means sun – is seven years old and weighs 80kg (176lb). Keepers said he had recovered from the incident and was eating and playing as normal.
Is this Yang Yang one of the two giant pandas known to have this name or another one?
Yang Yang is the name of two giant pandas on display outside of China.
One of the two is a male (b. September 9, 1997) residing at Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia and the father of Mei Lan. He is kept separate from the cub and his mother Lun Lun because male pandas do not play a part in raising cubs in the wild.
The other panda is a female living at Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria, along with her mate Long Hui. This female Yang Yang recently surprised her zookeepers when she gave birth on August 23, 2007 to a male cub.
In this 2005 photo of Yang Yang (apparently the Vienna individual), a child is shown to have climbed over the fence surrounding the panda enclosure and enticed Yang Yang to approach the glass while feeding.