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China: Around The Nation

Chinese man knocked to ground by giant panda after climbing inside zoo enclosure ‘to impress women’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 3:02pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 6:14pm

A Chinese man visiting a zoo had a lucky escape after being grabbed and knocked to the ground by a playful giant panda after he allegedly climbed inside its enclosure while trying to impress two women companions, mainland media reports.

The unnamed man, aged about 20, was left unharmed – but his trousers worn torn to shreds in the incident at Nanchang Zoo, in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, on Thursday, which was captured on video and posted online by another tourist, Jiangxi Television reported.

The manager of the zoo said in the report the man was lucky that Mei Ling, a 12 year-old male giant panda weighing 120kg, had wanted only to play with him or he might have been seriously hurt. Although giant pandas looked cute and timid, when they became agitated they could turn dangerous and cause severe injuries with their jaws and sharp claws, the manager said.

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The man had jumped over a 1.3-metre-high perimeter fence, then leapt across a three-metre-deep ditch to reach the playground used by giant pandas while trying to impress his companions, the report said.

Mei Ling, the only giant panda in the enclosure at the time, was asleep and initially did not notice the intruder.

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The man stood watching the sleeping animal at first, but then stepped closer to try to touch the animal’s head.

Without warning, Mei Ling quickly jumped up and grabbed at the man’s legs, knocking him to the ground.

Mei Ling was too powerful for the man, who struggled frantically to free himself.

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“It is biting him,” a woman’s voice can be heard on the video of the incident.

After about a minute the panda released its grip and the man managed to run off unharmed.

However, his trousers had been badly ripped by the animals teeth and claws, witnesses told the television report.

The zoo’s manager said giant pandas were carnivorous and often caught small animals such as rabbits or rodents to add nutrients to their traditional diet of bamboo leaves, stems and shoots.

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Even zoo keepers at the park dared not to entered their enclosures, the manager added.

The zoo said the tourist had left the park without informing them of the incident.

Staff had found no blood stains inside the enclosure, and a medical examination carried out on Mei Ling afterwards found that the animal had not been harmed and remained completely healthy.