Outrage began spreading across the internet earlier this month following the release of a video showing handlers abusing panda cubs at a Chinese research facility.
In the recent footage captured within The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, handlers can be seen throwing panda cubs violently, dragging them across the floor, grabbing at their fur and skin, and yelling at them.
The BBC reports that a representative from the Chengdu facility has responded to the video, stating that the actions of the handlers were inappropriate and that, in the future, staff will be told to treat their charges more gently.
One of the handlers in the video, Guo Jingpeng, has also since attempted to defend himself when speaking with Xinhua Chinese state media. He says that pandas, even panda cubs, can be more strong and dangerous than the public realizes.
Guo claims that he was bitten by one of the panda cubs during the feeding, saying that “the cub bit my hand really hard. Its teeth cut into my flesh and my hand started bleeding.” And in response to an incident in the video where he pushes over one of the cubs, Guo states that “when it tried to bite me again, I pushed it away out of instinct.”
However, the public seems uninterested in Guo’s side of the story. Giant pandas are beloved in China and around the world, and people quickly grew outraged at the video. Many internet commenters in China are calling for Guo’s resignation, and many are calling into question the legitimacy of the popular Chengdu breeding facility as a whole.