CHINA: PANDA INJURES WOMAN IN ACCIDENT
Restrictions: No Access China
Date: 21/01/1999 05:00 AM
Sichuan Province, China - 18,19 January 1999
1. Medium shot panda which attacked woman picking up bamboo and eating
2. Close up panda which attacked woman eating bamboo
3. Medium shot pan from two pandas eating bamboo to area outside pen
4. Wide shot sign next to pen which reads in Chinese: "Animal is dangerous, entrance not allowed"
5. Close up sign, camera zooms out to wide shot of sign
6. Medium shot panda eating bamboo
7. Medium shot panda playing
8. Medium shot two pandas lying on ground, playing
9. Close up panda inside cage
10. Medium shot woman feeding panda in cage
11. Medium shot people looking at panda
12. Close up panda eating
13. Exterior hospital
14. Close up wounded leg of victim, camera zooms out to wide shot
15. Empty pen, pan from fence to enclosure
16. Medium shot inside empty pen
17. Close up then pull out to reveal empty pen
The Giant Panda has become an international symbol of the global effort to save endangered species.
But while pandas may look cuddly and passive, the bears can be violent when provoked.
One worker at a panda reserve in China learned that unfortunate lesson this week.
The panda may just be one of the cutest animals in the world.
The rare bears, native to China, have become stars at the few zoos lucky enough to have them.
But they can also be vicious.
Earlier this week, a giant panda bit and severely injured a woman who fell into its pen while cutting grass near a breeding centre in China's Sichuan province.
A sign outside the panda's pen issues a warning few visitors realise is necessary: "This animal is dangerous."
The breeding centre is keen to remind visitors that while appearing harmless, the pandas can, at times, attack.
Startled when the woman tumbled down a slope, the panda ripped a chunk out of one of Li Yuanzhen's thighs and then bit her other leg.
Chinese state media reported that Li, a farmer, was rushed to an army hospital but was not seriously injured.
While looking mild and passive, pandas have sharp teeth and powerful paws.
They have been known to become vicious when surprised, challenged or when they sense their territory is being invaded.
Only about 1-thousand giant pandas still survive in the wild due to shrinking habitats and poaching.
China has set up breeding centres such as this one in Sichuan to try to improve the animal's low reproductive rate.
But officials at the centre said the panda had reacted naturally to the surprise - they said it would continue its normal routine and not be punished.