Monday, August 06, 2007

Fighting panda extinction

In the quest to save the panda from extinction, promoters play up the animal's cute qualities to encourage awareness and donations, and the media outlets happily play along. But no one should ever lose sight of the fact that pandas are still animals, and they will tear you up if you get too close.

BEIJING - A zookeeper needed more than 100 stitches after a 3-year-old panda viciously bit and scratched him during feeding time at a zoo in northwestern China, a newspaper reported Monday.


Zhang was feeding the panda from outside the enclosure, sticking his arms through the wire, when the panda, Lan Zai, grabbed his arms and began biting them and then scratched his legs, the newspaper reported.


Last October, a panda cub bit off part of the thumb of an American visitor who was feeding the animal at a reserve in southwestern China. A month earlier, a drunken Chinese tourist bit a panda at the Beijing Zoo after the animal attacked him when he jumped into the enclosure and tried to hug it.

They may be cute, but they ain't cuddly.

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