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Woman Killed by Tiger – Badaling Wildlife Park Investigation Completed

Investigation of the incident where a woman was attacked by a tiger when she got out of the car at the Badaling Wildlife Park (八达岭动物园) in Beijing this summer has been completed.

Manya Koetse

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Investigation of the incident where a woman was attacked by a tiger when she got out of the car at the Badaling Wildlife Park (八达岭动物园) in Beijing this summer has been completed. It concludes that the wildlife park is not to blame.

On July 23, 2016, a visitor of the Badaling Wildlife Park in Beijing was attacked by a tiger when she got out of her car in the safari area of the zoo. When the woman was dragged away by the animal, her husband and mother also left the vehicle to come to her rescue.

The incident resulted in the death of the elder woman (Mrs. Zhou), while the younger woman (Mrs. Zhao) was left seriously injured.

News of the tragedy soon triggered discussions on Sina Weibo about the safety at Badaling Wildlife Park, a zoo where the director was killed by one of the elephants in March. In 2009 and 2014, two other persons were also attacked and killed by one of the zoo’s tigers. Many netizens wondered who was to blame for the fatal incident: was it the zoo or its visitors?

 

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Footage shows the woman leaving the car and being dragged away by a tiger on July 23.

 

The incident’s investigation team has now completed its report, of which the results were made public earlier today. The reports identifies the following reasons for causing the incident:

First, Mrs. Zhao did not comply with the Badaling Wildlife Park’s strict guidelines not to leave the car, which led to her being attacked and wounded by the tiger. Second, the woman who got out of the car to save her daughter (Mrs. Zhou) also did not follow the park’s rules that strictly prohibit anybody from exiting their vehicle, resulting in her death.

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The report states that before entering the park’s wildlife area, visitors are clearly informed of the park’s rules by the zoo’s staff and through leaflets. Those who drive into the wildlife park with their own car, like Mrs. Zhao, also have to sign a waiver of liability. The park has clear warning signs telling visitors not to exit their vehicle, and that park rangers will come to the rescue in case of an emergency.

The investigation team therefore concludes that the Badaling Wildlife Park bears no responsibility for what happened on July 23.

The fatal minutes on July 23

The report describes how the family, consisting of the woman Mrs. Zhao, her husband Mr. Liu, her mother Mrs. Zhou, and their 2-year-old infant, entered the park at around 14.00 on July 23rd. Before entering the premises, they were informed of the park rules, which, amongst others, state that visitors cannot leave their vehicles, feed the animals or open their car windows. They also signed the waiver.

At 15:00, Mrs. Zhao exited the car on the passenger side to change seats with her husband, who was driving the car. When park rangers saw her exiting the car, they honked to warn her to get back in the car. The two vehicles behind their car also honked to alert the woman, who was soon dragged away by the tiger who had come up behind her. Mrs. Zhou and Mr. Liu also left the vehicle to go after her. Park rangers immediately drove to the scene and asked for assistance. This whole scene took place within a time frame of less than half a minute.

The report also describes that at the scene, Mrs. Zhou tried to smack the tiger who attacked her daughter, when a second tiger approached and bit her in the back. When a third tiger approached and also attacked the older woman, she gave up her fight.

As two park patrol cars arrived at the scene, Mr. Liu asked the drivers to get out of their cars to help. In accordance with park rules, they ordered Mr. Liu to get in the car immediately and to leave the scene, which he did at 15.02. Within the 14 minutes that followed, park rangers restrained a total of ten tigers by leading them into cages and the tiger habitat so that they could safely exit their vehicles. By 15.16, they found that Mrs. Zhou no longer had a pulse, while Mrs. Zhao was still alive, although her face was severely mauled.

The two women were immediately brought to the hospital, where they arrived at 15.44. The 57-year-old Mrs. Zhou was officially pronounced dead at 17.12. The 32-year-old Mrs. Zhao could be rescued despite her severe injuries, and by now has been discharged from the hospital.

Although the report does not hold Badaling Wildlife Park liable for the incident, it does stress that the park needs to further increase the safety of visitors by strengthening awareness of the existing rules, and emphasizes that park rangers need further training on how to respond in the case of emergency.

On Weibo, the completed investigation results were soon shared amongst netizens, receiving thousands of comments within a couple of hours.

The majority of Chinese netizens seem to agree with the report’s outcome.
“The zoo nor the tigers are to blame!” they respond with smileys and happy emojis.

“It is so clear how this happened, did they really need such a long time to investigate?”, some commenters wonder. “The outcome is fair!”, is what many Weibo users say.

But not everybody agrees with the report. “Firstly, a wild life park should not be used for people’s entertainment,” one netizen says: “Secondly, if a mother sees her child being dragged away and exits the car to help her, can you still blame her for not following the rules?”

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China and Covid19

Fresh Off the Boat, Xiamen Fish Are Tested for Covid-19

Catch of the day! These fish in Xiamen can’t escape their daily Covid test.

Manya Koetse

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It does not matter if you’re old or young, shrimp or fish – you can’t escape China’s zero-covid policy.

In the Jimei district of the coastal city of Xiamen, some fish and shrimp also had to do a nucleic acid test this week, leading to some banter on Chinese social media.

In the area, fishermen returning from a day of work have to undergo nucleic acid tests together with some of the fish that they caught during the day.

After the fishermen themselves have done the Covid test, they reportedly have to grab a few fresh fish from their catch of the day for the anti-epidemic workers to test. They open the mouth of the fish so that the fish can be tested with the cotton swab.

Chinese media outlet Sohu (搜狐新闻) posted a video about the issue on its Weibo account on August 17th, receiving over 90,000 likes and more than 8000 shares.

“I thought fish didn’t any lungs?” a popular comment said, with other commenters suggesting that this news made it clear that Covid “doesn’t affect the lungs but the brain instead.”

Another commenter suggested that if this matter concerned authorities, they should also start testing mosquitos.

Some also felt bad for the fish: “They still have to undergo this before getting killed.”

“The fish should be grateful for receiving a Covid test for free,” others wrote, while there were also people who wondered if parts of the sea would go into lockdown mode if some fish would test positive for Covid.

There were also critical commenters wondering about any scientific reasoning behind testing fish, asking who was getting paid to test them – suggesting commercial benefits outweigh scientific basis in this case.

“You can’t get Covid if you don’t have lungs, let alone if you live in the sea,” one Weibo user wrote, another person asking: “Have we all gone mad?”

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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China Animals

‘Welcome Home, Molly’ – Chinese Zoo Elephant Returns to Kunming after Online Protest

One small step for animal protection in China, one giant leap for Molly the elephant.

Manya Koetse

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Following online protest and the efforts of animal activists, Molly has returned to the Kunming Zoo where she was born and where mother elephant Mopo is.

The little elephant named Molly is a big topic of discussion on Chinese social media recently.

The popular Asian elephant, born in the Kunming Zoo in 2016, was separated from her mother at the age of two in April of 2018. Molly was then transferred from Kunming Zoo to Qinyang, Jiaozuo (Henan), in exchange for another elephant. Over the past few years, fans of Molly started voicing their concerns online as the elephant was trained to do tricks and performances and to carry around tourists on her back at the Qinyang Swan Lake Ecological Garden (沁阳天鹅湖生态园), the Qinyang Hesheng Forest Zoo (沁阳和生森林动物园), the Jiaozuo Forestry Zoo (焦作森林动物园), and the Zhoukou Safari Park (周口野生动物世界).

Since the summer of 2021, more people started speaking out for Molly’s welfare when they spotted the elephant chained up and seemingly unhappy, forced to do handstands or play harmonica, with Molly’s handlers using iron hooks to coerce her into performing.

Earlier this month, Molly became a big topic on Chinese social media again due to various big accounts on Xiaohongshu and Weibo posting about the ‘Save Molly’ campaign and calling for an elephant performance ban in China (read more).

Although zookeepers denied any animal abuse and previously stated that the elephant is kept in good living conditions and that animal performances are no longer taking place, Molly’s story saw an unexpected turn this week. Thanks to the efforts of online netizens, Molly fans, and animal welfare activists, Molly was removed from Qinyang.

A popular edited image of Molly that has been shared a lot online.

On May 15, the Henan Forestry Bureau – which regulates the holding of all exotic species, including those in city zoos – announced that Molly would return to Kunming in order to provide “better living circumstances” for the elephant. A day later, on Monday, Molly left Qinyang and returned to the Kunming Zoo where she was born. In Kunming, Molly will first receive a thorough health check during the observation period.

Official announcement regarding Molly by the Henan Forestry Administration.

Many online commenters were happy to see Molly returning home. “Finally! This is great news,” many wrote, with others saying: “Please be good to her” and “Finally, after four years of hardship, Molly will be reunited with her mother.”

Besides regular Weibo accounts celebrating Molly’s return to Kunming, various Chinese state media accounts and official accounts (e.g. the Liaocheng Communist Youth League) also posted about Molly’s case and wished her a warm welcome and good wishes. One Weibo post on the matter by China News received over 76,000 likes on Monday.

Although many view the effective online ‘Save Molly’ campaign as an important milestone for animal welfare in China, some animal activists remind others that there are still other elephants in Chinese zoos who need help and better wildlife protection laws. Among them are the elephant Kamuli (卡目里) and two others who are still left in Qinyang.

For years, animal welfare activists in China and in other countries have been calling for Chinese animal protection laws. China does have wildlife protection laws, but they are often conflicting and do not apply to pets and there is no clear anti-animal abuse law.

“I’ll continue to follow this. What are the next arrangements? What is the plan for Molly and the other elephants? How will you guarantee a safe and proper living environment?”

Another Weibo user writes: “This is just a first step, there is much more to be done.”

To follow more updates regarding Molly, check out Twitter user ‘Diving Paddler’ here. We thank them for their contributions to this article.

To read more about zoos and wildlife parks causing online commotion in China, check our articles here.

By Manya Koetse

References (other sources linked to within text)

Arcus Foundation (Ed.). 2021. State of the Apes: Killing, Capture, Trade and Ape Conservation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

China Daily. 2012. “Animal Rights Groups Seek Performance Ban.” China Daily, April 16 http://www.china.org.cn/environment/2012-04/16/content_25152066.htm [Accessed May 1 2022].

Li, Peter J. 2021. Animal Welfare in China: Culture, Politics and Crisis. Sydney: Sydney University Press.

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Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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