Source AP ©

Panda beaten by drunk tourist attacks teenager at Beijing Zoo

A male panda at the Beijing Zoo once bitten by a drunk tourist has attacked a teenager, ripping chunks out of the boy's legs, officials and a newspaper said Tuesday.

The 15-year-old had jumped over a 1.4-meter (4-foot-7) barrier surrounding an outdoor exercise area for pandas on Monday afternoon while 8-year-old Gu Gu the panda and another bear were being fed, said the director of the zoo management office, who identified himself only by his surname, Zhang.

The teen startled the 110-kilogram (240-pound) panda, who responded by biting the unwanted visitor on both legs, Zhang said.

The Beijing News identified the teen as Li Xitao, citing emergency medical officials who said he was so viciously attacked that his bones were showing. Chunks of flesh were left behind in the ambulance, they said.

Gu Gu was in the news last year when he was bitten by a drunk tourist. The man jumped into the bear's pen and tried to hug him, but was bitten instead. The tourist retaliated by biting the bear in the back.

While pandas have an image of being cute, they are wild animals that also can be violent when provoked or startled.

Li, who is from Hebei province in northeast China but makes a living in Beijing selling recyclables that he picks off the street, had climbed into the panda enclosure out of curiosity, the newspaper said, citing zoo security who had spoken with the boy.

Keepers who were in the exercise area at the time broke up the attack, which lasted two or three minutes, Zhang said. They managed to lure Gu Gu away from Li, Zhang said, explaining that the pandas have been trained to obey keepers' commands.

Gu Gu was seen snacking on bamboo later in the afternoon, The Beijing News said.

Zoo officials were considering unspecified measures to prevent further incidents.

"We have to prepare against such behavior," Zhang said, adding that visitors should "act properly when visiting."

The barrier around the exercise area cannot be any taller because it would block the view of the pandas, he said.

Li was taken to Beijing Children's Hospital. An operator at the main number for the hospital directed calls Tuesday to the surgery department, where phones were not answered.

Police were investigating and it was not yet clear whether Li would face any criminal charges, Zhang said.

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