Heart-stopping moment girl falls into panda enclosure in China

Katy Clifton

An eight-year-old girl was rescued after falling into an enclosure with three giant pandas at a research base in China.

The young girl was watching the pandas in the Sichuan province on Saturday when she fell around two metres into a trench inside their enclosure, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

Footage shows the tense moment a guard at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding tried to rescue the girl as pandas approached her amid screams and warning shouts from crowd members.

He attempted to pull her out of the enclosure with a stick but that did not work. He was forced to reach and extend his arm beneath the bars in the fence surrounding the enclosure and managed to pull her to safety.

Luckily, the pandas appeared to just be curious about the crying girl when she was in the enclosure and did not come too close to her.

The terrified eight-year-old was reunited with her parents and sent to hospital for an examination. Local media suggest she had climbed the fence herself before being accidentally knocked down.

According to China Daily, the close encounter with the giant pandas on Saturday prompted the research facility to issue a warning that pandas are “not as meek and docile as they appear”.

The statement said that pandas are potentially dangerous animals and even their keepers must keep their distance once the animals turn two years old.

A woman from Hong Kong suffered injuries to her arm after being attacked by a panda when she entered their enclosure at the research facility in Wenchuan in 2005.