GUILIN - A college student who crept into the panda pen at a south China park hoping to get closer to the cuddly bear ended up in hospital Friday, management of the park said Saturday.
The student, surnamed Liu, was seen nimbly crossing a two-meter high fence separating visitors from the giant panda's playground at around 4 p.m. Friday, said a worker at Qixing Park in Guilin, a major tourist attraction in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
He said the park had clear signs warning visitors not to get over the fences for their own safety, "but the young man ignored them".
"The panda, Yangyang, was wide awake. Apparently scared by the intruder, he bit at Liu's arms and legs," he said on condition of anonymity.
The panda's keepers rushed in to soothe Yangyang (an affectionate name meaning 'sun') and rescue Liu.
"Yangyang was so cute and I just wanted to cuddle him," Liu said at No. 2 People's Hospital in Guilin Saturday. "I didn't expect he would attack... I don't remember how many bites I got."
Liu was injured in both arms and legs and underwent an operation Friday night. Doctors said he was out of danger but needed to stay in hospital for a few days.
Liu, 20, studies at a university in Guilin. He was visiting the park with his classmates.
Yangyang is a male panda. He is seven years old and weighs 80 kilograms. He was flown to the Guilin park from Sichuan Province last year to 'wed' his bride Yueyue, who was eight years older than Yangyang.
Panda keepers at the park said Yangyang had seemingly forgotten all about Friday's accident and ate and played as usual Saturday.