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article imageGiant Panda attacks keeper at San Diego Zoo

By Kim I. Hartman     Mar 15, 2011 in Environment
San Diego - A San Diego Zoo keeper was injured and rushed by ambulance to the hospital after she was bitten by a Giant Panda on Sunday, while trying to coax her back into the safety of the enclosure.
"Bai Yun, a 220-pound female panda, was able to push open a gate to the exhibit and enter an area that was normally off limits. As keepers were trying to herd her back into her sleeping habitat, the animal bit a female keeper on the arm" according to the LA Times.
"We do know that a security protocol was not followed… that a door was not securely latched and that allowed the panda to get into the behind-the-scenes area," a San Diego Zoo spokeswoman Christine Simmons said to 10News.
The panda, meaning "black and white cat-foot" is a bear native to central-western and south western China," according to Wikipedia. "World wildlife reports say there are 239 pandas living in captivity inside China and another 27 outside the country. Wild population estimates vary from 1500 to as high as 2,000 to 3,000."
"Most bears have a volatile temperament and can suddenly become aggressive. Bai Yun is a normal panda who was in an abnormal area," said a zoo spokeswoman to the LA Times.
The 19-year-old Bai Yun, was born in China and then given to the San Diego Zoo in 1996. The zoo website says she has given birth to five cubs while at the zoo and has been an attentive, gentle mother.
Zoo officials told 10News that this was the first time Bai Yun has behaved aggressively. The zoo said they have never had an incident involving an attack on a keeper at the facility.
The panda handler, who was not named, was taken to the hospital, where she was treated. Zoo officials said they will not be releasing any information about the worker’s condition.
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