An official breeder was caught on camera beating a giant panda, Hua Ni, which is from the Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Kindergarten in the Sichuan Giant Panda Research Centre. Videos and photos circulating around have raised the ire of netizens. Offiicals have confirmed on Friday that this was the result of the “unlawful” actions of one of its breeders.
According to Sina News, the Sichuan Foresty Department released a statement addressing online speculation surrounding the identity of the attacker after a video was circulated a few days earlier. The breeder is currently under investigation.
An official has emphasized that pandas cannot be treated as wild beasts. Panda cubs tend to be young and vivacious, and are capable of causing harm to breeders with their claws and teeth. Most of the breeders working in the centre have been scratched and bitten at some point.
In order to avoid these cubs attacking or harming breeders when they grow into full-sized pandas, the centre advises breeders to avoid being too friendly with panda cubs while they are young.
The research centre has also emphasized that it will be imposing stricter regulations when it comes to issues concerning pandas’ interactions with workers.
In February, a Zhengzhou zoo came under fire for the sudden death of one of its pandas, allegedly due to poor living conditions.