Outrage is growing in China over a video that appears to show mistreatment of two giant panda babies at a famed research facility in Chengdu.
In the video, which has since gone viral, a staff member can be seen “dragging and throwing” the cubs. The incident has drawn criticism from Chinese netizens, who have raised concerns about animal cruelty.
However, panda keeper Guo Jingpeng defended himself saying the cubs were being violent.Guo told state news agency Xinhua that what is not shown in the video is that he was bitten during a feeding. “The cub bit my hand really hard. Its teeth cut into my flesh and my hand started bleeding,” he said, adding that his hand still remained scarred.
“When it tried to bite me again, I pushed it away out of instinct.”
Guo also said he felt he had been wronged by the footage being circulated online this week, which was recorded earlier in July.
“The online community claims we don’t love pandas. But we choose to stay and work here because we love these creatures,” he told local media.
“I just want to clarify that the footage showing me “throwing” the panda was a natural reaction.”
Colleagues of Guo told local media that he had since been “criticised and educated” by the facility.
The giant panda is regarded as a symbol of China and is a highly-protected species under the government.