In a video that alternates between terrifying and adorable, a man visiting the Nanchang Zoo in Jiangxi province, China, can be seen tussling with a panda. The 20-something man, reported China’s Jiangxi Television, was motivated out of a desire to impress his two female companions.
So he entered the panda enclosure on Thursday and poked one of the animals.
Specifically, the man scaled a 4-foot-tall barrier, passed over a 10-foot-deep moat and snuck into the playground designed for the large animals. He approached Mei Ling, a 12-year-old, 265-pound panda, and tapped it on the head as it slept.
Mei Ling awoke, tackling him by the leg.
‘‘It is biting him,’’ said a woman on the video, according to South China Morning Post.
Reuters reported the pair wrestled for five minutes. For the entirety of the incident caught on video, Mei Ling maintained the upper paw. The animal wrestled the man to the grass, ripping the man’s jeans before letting him go.
The would-be panda wrangler scrambled out of the enclosure and quickly exited the zoo.
‘‘The young man left the zoo right after he escaped, and we could not get in touch with him,’’ said zoo manager deputy Kuang Huaming, Deutsche Welle reported. Mei Ling appeared to be completely unharmed in a follow-up medical exam, he said, and the zoo’s staff would be keeping a close eye on the panda.
Though they may seem like bamboo-munching pacifists, pandas can still pack a punch. The man was lucky Mei Ling only embraced him in a trousers-ripping bear hug. Pandas have hospitalized zoo visitors who hopped the fence, out of curiosity or drunkenness. A panda at the Beijing Zoo, Gu Gu, hospitalized three people between 2006 and 2009. All of the victims entered the panda pen and Gu Gu attacked. In the most severe case, Gu Gu bit a teenager’s leg to the bone.