A Beijing Zoo visitor who caught footage of a tourist throwing rocks at a giant panda said they were trying to ‘wake up’ the animal.
The eyewitness took a trip to the popular zoo on Saturday (July 13), where she visited the old panda pavilion, built in 1989 to celebrate the 1990 Asian Games hosted by the Chinese capital.
There, she claimed to have seen two people throwing stones at the innocent animals in the space of 30 minutes.
In the video you can see a large rock hitting the panda, causing it to get up and investigate:
The clip was shared on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.
Speaking to The Beijing News, as per the Mail Online, the person behind the camera claimed the tourists had thrown the stones in an attempt to wake the panda.
The clip she shared had presumably been taken after a rock had already been thrown, as the animal appears to have already been awake, but apparently that wasn’t enough to stop another person hurling a stone at the poor bear.
A spokesperson for the zoo said keepers immediately attended the scene on Saturday to prevent tourists from throwing objects and food at animals, though the eyewitness urged the zoo to upgrade its facilities to ensure its inhabitants were better protected.
Beijing Zoo have since responded to the incident explaining the panda, which is nicknamed Meng Da, did not appear to be affected and was still behaving normally when it came to eating, playing and moving around.
The Beijing News report the zoo plan to renovate the panda pavilion’s ‘stadium’ as well as better observe their animals to ensure their safety. They also urged visitors to look at animals in a ‘civilised’ manner.
Last year, tourists were spotted throwing rocks at pandas in Foping Panda Valley, in Hanzhong, a city in north-western China’s Shaanxi province. The cruel visitors were said to be part of a group of 20-30 tourists who had been walking through the giant panda enclosures when they attempted to wake one of the animals by throwing things at it.
Pandas, a symbol of China, are renowned for their slow motion and lazy daily routine. After years of intensive conservation efforts led by Chinese experts, the giant panda was removed from the endangered species list in 2016 by The International Union for Conservation of Nature.
It’s awful to see anyone behaving so cruelly towards the innocent animals.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.