Video of handlers abusing panda cubs in China sparks outrage


A video showing two handlers mistreating giant panda cubs in China has gone viral, prompting one of the accused animal keepers to speak out in the pair's defense.

Guo Jingpeng, who works at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, was caught on surveillance video roughly handling two young pandas with another one of the animals' keepers on July 12.

In the footage, Jingpeng and his coworker can be seen slamming the cubs into a wall in the enclosure, dragging the creatures by their scruff and tossing them head first into the ground.

After the shocking footage started to gain widespread attention, Jingpeng came forward to tell his own side of the story.

He told news agency Xinhua that he was feeding milk to the panda cubs, as he does every day, when one of the animals suddenly became aggressive.

"The cub bit my hand really hard. Its teeth cut into my flesh and my hand started bleeding," Jingpeng told the outlet. "When it tried to bite me again, I pushed it away out of instinct."

%shareLinks-quote="I just want to clarify that the footage showing me 'throwing' the panda was a natural reaction." type="quote" author="Guo Jingpeng" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%

Guo added that since the footage has spread online, he believed he has unfairly become a target of social media ire.

"The over 50-minute video was intentionally edited into less than two minutes of footage," he said.

"The online community claims we don't love pandas. But we choose to stay and work here because we love these creatures."

According to the Telegraph, local authorities have seen the inflammatory video and have ordered that staff members at the research base treat the pandas more gently, even if they try to bite or scratch.