Panda leaves zookeeper ‘seriously injured’ after mauling him in staff area
A giant panda at a Belgium zoo has left a zookeeper seriously injured after attacking one of his caretakers.
Tian Bao, who lives at privately owned zoo Pairi Daiza and botanical gardens in Brugellete, escaped from his enclosure into a staff corridor where he was confronted by his caretakers.
They restrained the four-year-old after he savagely attacked his victim.
The caretaker, who has worked at the zoo for several years, was taken to hospital with severe injuries after being bitten on the arms and legs, but his life is not believed to be in danger.
The panda was the first giant panda to be born in Belgium.
It is not known how it escaped and accessed a staff area of the zoo.
The incident is currently being investigated, the Brussels Times reported.
Zoo spokesperson Mathieu Goedefroy told De Standaard: "What is certain is that the panda should never have been allowed in that room."
There have been no previous attacks reported at Pairi Daiza.
Zoo safety protocol means contact between humans and giant pandas is forbidden after the animals turn two years old, or weigh 70kg.
Giant pandas spend up to 14 hours each day feeding on bamboo, which account for 99 per cent of their diet and are solitary animals.
Tian Bao was born at the zoo Pairi Daiza on June 2, 2016 – and was the first giant panda to be born in Belgium.
He's expected to be sent to China after his fifth birthday this year, at some point before the end of the year.
It has not been revealed if the attack will result in Tian Bao being shipped off to China earlier.
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