- A 53-year-old man named Gao was banned for life from a panda center in China for throwing unspecified objects into a panda enclosure.
- The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding issued the ban, stating that feeding pandas can harm them.
- Previous lifetime bans were imposed for similar offenses of feeding pandas, including one for giving peanuts to panda cubs.
Don’t feed the pandas. That’s the rule seemingly broken by a man who was banned for life from one of China’s main panda centers after throwing unspecified “objects” into an enclosure on Monday.
A notice from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding didn’t identify the objects, but said that feeding pandas may cause them harm, and that the panda appeared to be in normal condition. It identified the visitor as a 53-year-old man with the family name Gao.
“In view of Gao’s uncivilized visit and his behavior that may cause harm to giant pandas, he is prohibited from entering the panda base … for life,” the notice said.
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The panda base has previously imposed lifetime bans for feeding pandas. A man who fed bamboo shoots to panda cubs in an activity area and a woman who gave them peanuts were barred for life last August.
Other visitors have been banned for one or five years for offenses such as throwing water at a panda or banging hard on enclosure window glass, according to state media reports.
The black and white giant panda has become a national symbol for China, loaned to zoos around the world. President Xi Jinping, on a visit to the U.S. last year, called them “envoys of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples.”
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The breeding base in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is a popular tourist destination. A total of 34 pandas were born last year at two bases in Sichuan, including the one in Chengdu. Some made a special appearance recently as part of this month’s Lunar New Year festivities.
“The national treasure has strict dietary standards,” the Base wrote in its notice. It asked visitors to be civilized and lead by example.