Beijing Zoo has promised to improve security around its giant panda enclosure after stones were hurled at Meng Da, one of its residents.
A video of the incident on Saturday was posted to Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, where it drew more than 100 million hits.
It shows Meng Da sitting in the enclosure when a stone appears to bounce next to him and stop close by. The startled panda pauses then goes over to examine the object.
Visitors are heard asking, “Who threw the stone?” But no one identifies the stone thrower. Beijing News reported that a bigger stone struck Meng Da about 30 minutes later.
The report quoted the person who shot the video as saying the culprits threw objects to “wake the panda up”.
On Weibo, Beijing Zoo assured panda lovers that Meng Da was unhurt and unruffled by the stone-throwing. The zoo promised to improve security and inspections at the panda enclosure.
Meanwhile, on social media there were calls for better protection of China’s national symbol in zoos. “How dare they hurt our lovable national treasure?” one Weibo user wrote.
“The zoo should build a glass wall to protect the panda,” another said. “Those tourists should be blacklisted and punished.”
In July last year, visitors to a reserve in Foping county in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, were asked to leave and blacklisted after throwing stones at a panda, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
That followed an incident in April last year, when a 12-year-old kangaroo in Fuzhou Zoo, Fujian province, was fatally injured after visitors hurled bricks and chunks of concrete at it in an attempt to make it hop.
Threatening or injuring zoo and park animals can result in a fine of 100 yuan (US$15) and offenders may face criminal charges under Beijing municipal law.
More from South China Morning Post:
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