Giant Panda

Chinese wildlife conservationist seriously injured in attack by female panda

Wei Hua is recovering in hospital after being mauled by angry female panda when he approached her cub at nature reserve in Sichuan province

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 1:25pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 1:25pm

A Chinese wildlife conservationist was seriously injured when a female panda attacked him after he approached her young cub, mainland media reported.

Wei Hua, 41, suffered major muscle injuries, broken bones and cuts to his arms and legs after being mauled by the panda for about five minutes at a nature reserve in Wolong, Sichuan province, the Chengdu Commercial Daily reported.

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He is now recovering in hospital following the attack by the panda named Xi Mei, as she and her daughter, Ba Xi, who was born in captivity, were undergoing outdoor training.

Pandas born in captivity must undergo monitoring and training outdoors before they are released into the wild.

Xi Mei and Ba Xi arrived at the Tiantaishan Wild Training Centre on December 14.

For two days, caretakers were unable to detect any signals from a monitoring device fitted to Ba Xi, so Wei and two colleagues set out to look for her in the mountains at the centre on December 17.

The three, all dressed in panda suits to help avoid distressing the animals, located Ba Xi and then decided to leave.

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However, an angry Xi Mei suddenly attacked Wei and started to bite his arms and legs.

Wei managed to escape after five minutes and was rushed to a local hospital.

He needed a blood transfusion of up to 4,000 cubic cm of blood, but was now in stable condition, the report said.

Wei, who has a master’s degree in wildlife conservation, has been working with pandas in Sichuan since 2013.

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He was quoted as saying after the attack that, as a wildlife conservationist, he had been prepared for attacks by animals.

“I can’t hate [the panda],” Wei was quoted as saying. “I have forgiven it in my heart. I study and work on this kind of thing. I understand the behaviour of animals better than others.”

Also, the world’s oldest male panda, Pan Pan, has died at the age of 31 at the Dujiangyan Panda Base, near Chengdu, in Sichuan, Xinhua reported.

Pan Pan died at 4.50pm on Wednesday.

A keeper at the panda base, Tan Chengbin, said: “Pan Pan’s age was equivalent to about 100 human years, but he had been living with cancer and his health had deteriorated in the past three days.”

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At the time of his death Pan Pan had more than 130 living descendents – one fourth of the pandas now living in captivity.

Yuan Zai, a female panda living in a zoo in Taipei, is Pan Pan’s great-great-grandson.