Chinese tourists who threw rocks at panda blacklisted from nature reserve

Witness says visitors were trying to make the animal move from under a tree

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 July, 2018, 5:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 July, 2018, 5:07pm

Four Chinese tourists who threw rocks at a giant panda trying to make it move last week have been blacklisted from a nature reserve in northwest China, according to local media.

Footage of the incident posted on social media on Monday shows a man lobbing stones from behind a fence at a panda resting under a tree in its enclosure at the reserve in Foping county, in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province.

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One witness from Xian, surnamed Yang, said the panda had been motionless under the tree at the time, Chinese Business View reported on Monday.

Yang said more than 20 people had gathered at the enclosure on Friday afternoon and some began shouting at the panda, trying to get it to move, before the man seen in the video in a white T-shirt started throwing stones.

But Yan Xihai, marketing manager of the Foping National Nature Reserve, told the newspaper that the man in the footage was not the only visitor flinging rocks at the animal.

Yan said reserve staff stepped in after witnesses told them several tourists had been trying to make the panda react by throwing stones at it.

“This incident happened at a place where the pandas generally don’t come or hang around, so we don’t have any surveillance cameras installed in the area,” Yan was quoted as saying.

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Four tourists involved in the incident were given a warning by staff and told to leave the reserve, according to the report. The park management later blacklisted them from the nature reserve altogether.

Two of them were believed to be with the same tour group from Xian, but the travel agency’s manager told the newspaper he “wasn’t aware of” the incident.