Archive for the '2006' Category

What makes Gu Gu the panda attack?

Gu Gu, one of the Beijing Zoo’s pandas, has been in the news for three attacks on humans in as many years. In 2006, he bit (and was bitten by) a drunken man who climbed into his enclosure. In 2007, he bit a teen who tried to hug him while he was feeding. In 2009, he mauled a man who climbed into his enclosure to retrieve a toy.

What is it about Gu Gu that makes him so vicious? Well, nothing other than being a normal adult male bear, actually. The real question have so many people been able to invade his territory and open themselves up to attack?

The answer may be revealed in this video clip from CNN. As you can see in the video, all that prevents zoo visitors from entering the panda enclosure is a steel railing. Once they climb over the railing, however, there is a fairly deep pit which prevents them (and the pandas) from climbing back out.

It’s great that zoo visitors have an open and unobstructed view of the pandas, but maybe after three attacks it’s time to think about preventing visitors from so easily entering the panda area?


October 2006, China

Country: China

Location: Wolong Panda Reserve in Sichuan Province

Date: October 2006

Panda: unknown cub


An American tourist at the Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center had part of her thumb bitten off while feeding a panda cub. Foreign tourists pay to be a volunteer at the Center, which usually includes feeding and interacting with pandas. The AP reports:

She was wearing gloves and feeding the panda bamboo on Tuesday morning when “suddenly, the panda bit into her thumb,” Xinhua said.

“When she cried out, the cub became excited and gripped more tightly,” it said. “Lisa finally managed to wrench herself free.”

About 20 percent of the thumb had been bitten off, Xinhua said.

Earlier post about an attack at the Wolong Reserve

Link: Panda cub bites hand that feeds it:
American woman loses part of thumb at feeding center in southwest China

December 2006, China

Country: China

Location: Wolong Panda Reserve in Sichuan Province

Date: December 2006

Panda: unknown cubs

A tourist who has paid to “frolic” with Giant Panda cubs is knocked to the ground and overwhelmed by the adorable cubs. Take a look at the pictures as the experience turns from fun to fearsome. The Daily Mail reports:

She made the mistake of stroking them on the head a little too enthusiastically – and found herself suddenly knocked to the ground.

The woman had to be dragged from the pen while a panda gripped her around the waist, and was eventually lifted out of danger by her boyfriend.

This is hardly the worst panda attack listed here, but I have included it because these types of minor attacks are apparently fairly common. As the Taipei Times notes:

Pandas have a wild streak and are capable of attacking humans, especially if they feel threatened, experts say.

Such attacks are frequent in China, where zoo-goers often climb fences to get a closer look at the animals.

Link: When giant panda cubs attack

September 2006, China

Country: China

Location: Beijing Zoo

Date: 19 September 2006

Panda: Gu Gu


Drunken man enters panda enclosure, gets bitten on both legs, bites panda back. The BBC reports:

Zhang Xinyan, 35, had drunk four draught beers before deciding to enter the Beijing Zoo pen belonging to six-year-old male panda Gu Gu.

The startled Gu Gu bit both legs of his intruder, who responded by biting “the panda on its back”, Mr Zhang was quoted by state media as saying.

Mr Zhang said he had not realised pandas could be violent.

Link: Man bites panda after zoo attack



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