Panda abuse? Photo goes viral after keeper appears to mistreat cubs

At China’s most prestigious panda breeding facility, a video recorded on July 12, which has since garnered viral status, seems to be showing a keeper mistreat two panda cubs. At the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, one of the staff members appears to throw, push and drag two cubs.

According to the Telegraph, a debate continues as to whether the keeper had been treating the cubs in a cruel manner or whether the behavior of the cubs had been aggressive and the staff member had reacted appropriately. Guo Jingpeng, one of the panda keepers, explained that he had been feeding the cubs their milk when one of the babies became aggressive and violent.

“It bit my hand really hard, its teeth cut into the flesh and my hand started bleeding,” Mr. Jingpeng stated. “When it tried to bite me again, I pushed it away out of instinct.”

The cubs, Rourou and Manman are seen following the keeper out of the door of their enclosure. Animal advocates criticized the keepers in a country where pandas are the national symbol. Once pandas reach a year or two old, they can become violent from too much external stimulation.

Xie Huhai, another bear keeper, says he is often injured by the cubs indicating that scratches and bites are common occurrences, however the men have assured local news outlets the pandas will be treated “gently” even when they try to bite or scratch.

Nevertheless the criticism about the treatment of the cubs continued on Weibo, the popular microblogging site:

“It made me so angry to watch him throw a defenseless cub around. If he was so worried about his safety, why wasn’t he wearing protective equipment like gloves?, ” one blogger wrote.

Although pandas have been removed from the “endangered” list with numbers at 2,000 giant pandas with their population slowly increasing, the adorable looking bears are still classified as “vulnerable.”

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Photos via screenshots of video. What do you think?

Giant panda rescued from drowning after falling into dam

A four-year-old giant panda was rescued from nearly drowning on Tuesday afternoon, after she fell into the dam of a hydroelectric power plant in China. According to the Telegraph, when spotted, the 200 pound female had been struggling to keep her head above water as the strong currents pulled her along at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan province.panda-rescue-2

Rescuers were afraid the giant panda was going to drown before they could get to her, but somehow the team were able to lasso a line around her and pull the frightened bear towards land. Then came the problem of convincing the bear to cooperate to get her to the safety of land; that’s when a marksman was able to dart her to successfully sedate the panicky panda.

Authorities think the panda got lost as she wandered into the power station and was unable to find her way back when she tripped and fell into the dam. It took ten men to slowly lift her sleepy body back to the top, but a veterinarian’s examination found her unharmed. After she awoke from the sedation, the adorable bear ambled back to the wooded area where she lived.

In September 2016, the panda, native to China, was upgraded from endangered to vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species, managed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The giant panda populations in the wild have risen by 17 percent in the decade up to 2014, when a nationwide census found 1,850 giant pandas in the wild in China.

As one of her distant relatives Winnie the Pooh would say …. “All’s well that ends well.”

(Photos of giant panda  via YouTube and the Telegraph)

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