3 panda keep­ers, bit­ten by two bears, crit­i­cized af­ter on­line video sur­faces

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By HUANG ZHILING in Chengdu huangzhiling@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Three panda keep­ers bit­ten by two bears were rep­ri­manded af­ter an on­line out­cry over their rough han­dling of the nor­mally docile an­i­mals at the Chengdu Re­search Base of Gi­ant Panda Breed­ing in Sichuan prov­ince, ac­cord­ing to a base of­fi­cial.

The keep­ers — two men and a woman who grad­u­ated from col­lege last year — had tried to pre­vent the two pan­das from leav­ing their den be­cause a rou­tine ex­am­i­na­tion was sched­uled for the next day. They promised to per­form bet­ter af­ter the rep­ri­mand from se­nior manag- ers at the base, the of­fi­cial said.

On July 12, a ne­ti­zen posted a video clip show­ing the three keep­ers re­peat­edly throw­ing the two pan­das back into their den, and push­ing and pulling the an­i­mals to pre­vent them from leav­ing with two other bears.

Many on­line view­ers were as­ton­ished to see the pan­das be­ing thrown to the ground in their den and crit­i­cized the keep­ers.

The video clip was taken from a live broad­cast — a joint ef­fort of the base and Sichuan Ra­dio and Tele­vi­sion Sta­tion. The sta­tion in­stalled video cam­eras in sev­eral parts of the base to pro­vide 24-hour live broad­casts of the bears, said the of­fi­cial, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied.

The ne­ti­zen did not post the por­tion of video show­ing the three keep­ers be­ing bit­ten.

At around 6 pm on July 12, the keep­ers fed four pan­das in the den. To pre­pare for the ex­am­i­na­tion, the keep­ers needed to take away the two bears that would not be ex­am­ined, leav­ing only the two that would be checked.

But the two pan­das to be ex­am­ined also wanted to leave the den and bit the keep­ers, who were try­ing to stop them.

To pre­vent the bears from hurt­ing them again and es­cap­ing, the three keep­ers re­acted im­prop­erly, the of­fi­cial said.

Guo Jing­peng, one of the keep­ers, showed two holes in his mid­dle fin­ger when he was in­ter­viewed by re­porters in Chengdu on Thurs­day. The wounds were from panda bites, he said.

Wild by na­ture, cap­tive pan­das can oc­ca­sion­ally be fierce, said Zhou Mengqi, a pho­tog­ra­pher in Chengdu who has doc­u­mented pan­das since 1989.

Zhou said that long ago the an­i­mals were car­ni­vores. Grad­u­ally, as their en­vi­ron­ment changed, so did their diet. Now they eat only bam­boo.

In June 1992, when Zhou was pho­tograph­ing a panda eat­ing bam­boo out­side its den at the Chengdu base, the an­i­mal chased him away and bit his trousers, he said.

LIU PING / FOR CHINA DAILY

Play­ers com­pete dur­ing the fi­nal boys’ match in the Baidui Cup’s un­der-13 age group, in Bei­jing on Wed­nes­day. This year marked the 34th edi­tion of the soc­cer tour­na­ment for teenagers. More than 700 teams par­tic­i­pated.

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