Monday, November 5, 2007

The Panda that Attracts Loonies

What is it with this poor panda that he attracts lunatics that want to jump into his cage?

"A male panda at the Beijing Zoo once bitten by a drunk tourist attacked a teenager, ripping chunks out of the boy's legs, officials and a newspaper said Tuesday.

The 15-year-old had jumped over a 4-foot, 7-inch barrier surrounding an outdoor exercise area for pandas on Monday afternoon while 8-year-old Gu Gu and another bear were being fed, said a man surnamed Zhang, the director of the zoo management office.

The teen startled 240-pound Gu Gu, who bit the unwanted visitor on both legs, said Zhang, who would not give his full name.

The Beijing News identified the teen as Li Xitao, citing emergency medical officials who said he was so viciously attacked that his bones were showing. Chunks of flesh were left behind in the ambulance, they said.

Gu Gu was in the news last year when he was bitten by a drunk tourist. The man jumped into the bear's pen and tried to hug him, but was bitten instead. The tourist retaliated by biting the bear in the back.

Pandas, which generally have a public image as cute creatures, are nonetheless wild animals that can be violent when provoked or startled."

It is truly remarkable that anyone has to be reminded of this. Perhaps all children in schools headed to zoos should watch this viideo of the woman foolish enough to jump the barrier next to the polar bear exhibit.

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