A zoo worker in Shanghai, China, was fatally mauled by bears in front of a bus full of tourists. The incident occurred on Saturday at the Shanghai Wildlife Park in the “wild beast area,” which is an area in the park where wild animals, including bears and tigers, can roam around, the BBC reported.
The park issued a statement about the incident: “Our park is extremely saddened by such a tragedy, expressing deep condolences to the deceased, expressing deep sympathy to the families of the deceased and apologizing for the inconvenience it caused to tourists,” according to the New York Post.
“At present, our park is actively cooperating with relevant departments to conduct an incident investigation,” the statement continued and added that the exhibit in question will be closed temporarily. The identity of the zoo worker who was killed has not been released at this time.
Video of the Incident Taken by Tourists Was Circulating on Social Media Site Weibo Over the Weekend
The incident was witnessed by a bus full of horrified tourists, who later said they saw bears running toward the park employee, Australian news outlet ABC reported. The video, which will not be shared in this article, shows parkgoers screaming as the attack unfolds. One person can be heard yelling, “There is someone!” Another says, “What’s going on?”
Chinese media outlet Global Times reported that someone working an excavator closeby drove the machine toward the bears in an attempt to save the worker but was unsuccessful and the bears dragged the person’s body away.
The video was posted to Chinese social media site Weibo and was viewed over 600,000 times over the weekend, ABC wrote.
According to the park’s website, the section of the wildlife park where the incident occurred is a drive-through section with lions, tigers, wolves and bears. Both brown bears and black bears coexist in the drive-through section called Bear Home. It’s unclear if this attack was caused by brown bears or black bears and what measures the zoo will take regarding the animals involved.
The Incident & Video Sparked a Debate on Social Media About the Existence of Zoos & the Safety of Their Employees
Many people commented on the video of the incident, asking how the bears were able to get to the worker and wondering about the park’s safety protocols. Some thought the best solution would be to close down zoos, as bears and other wild animals are behaving the way they naturally would, the BBC wrote.
Others wrote that the zoos should be held responsible and improve their safety measures for their employees. Many people commented about the traumatic experience the tourists went through who witnessed the fatal mauling.
According to the BBC, these types of fatal incidents are rare in China, and attacks at zoos are usually caused by actions of tourists. For example, in a 2017 incident, a man rolled down his window in a drive-through wildlife park to feed a bear despite park warnings and ended up being bitten by the bear.