BEIJING (Reuters) - An intoxicated Chinese man who tried to give a panda a hug at Beijing Zoo found himself biting it in self defense after his clumsy attempt at affection was savagely rejected, local media reported Thursday.
Zhang Xinyan, a building worker on holiday from China's central Henan province, climbed into an enclosure that held Gu Gu, a seven-year-old panda, at Beijing Zoo after the man had drunk four pints of beer during lunch at a nearby restaurant, the Yanzhao Metropolis Daily said.
Zhang, who couldn't remember the incident clearly, had wanted to hug the panda and shake its hand after having watched similar scenes on television.
"When I was in there, the panda was eating bamboo. Then, it seemed some people shouted, which startled the panda. He rushed over to bite my leg," Zhang said.
Zhang, who tried in vain to push the panda away, was bitten twice and forced to the ground, the paper said.
"I took the opportunity to bite the panda's back, but its fur was too thick," Zhang said.
Eventually, a zoo worker sprayed water from a hose to rescue Zhang from the panda's clutches, the paper said.
Both were worse for wear after the tussle. Zhang was rushed to hospital and given tetanus and rabies shots, while Gu Gu lost her appetite, Xinhua news agency reported.
"It was scared by the intruder and refused to eat for one and a half days," a zoo spokeswoman, surnamed Ye, told Xinhua.
But Gu Gu had recovered and was back on display Thursday.
Zhang, however, faces at least a half-month convalescence, due to the "deep wounds," Xinhua said, citing Zhang's doctor.
His pride had also been injured, after reading stories of his exploits in newspapers.
"I wouldn't have jumped in if I knew what would happen," Zhang said.
The zoo, which plans to install cameras to monitor the enclosure, would not prosecute, Xinhua said.
But Zhang had already been tried and found guilty by Chinese Internet surfers.
"The man should be fined for the trouble he made," an anonymous commentator said in a posting on 163.com.