Former French president claims he was attacked by panda at zoo

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Former French president claims he was attacked by panda at zoo


Former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing learned that pandas aren't as cute and fluffy as they look, and revealed he was once attacked by a panda when he entered its cage at a zoo.

He said he was visiting Vincennes Zoo in Paris, where his daughter was carrying out work experience, and wanted to show his presidential courage.

"I wanted to demonstrate the courage of a president," the 87-year-old explained.

A guard pulled the animal off d'Estaing before it could harm him.

"They came to extract me from its claws but imagine what would have been said had the animal knocked me to the ground," he joked.

An Edinburgh Zoo expert told BBC News: "Although they are vegetarian bears, obviously at the end of the day pandas are still very powerful and muscular bears with teeth and claws to match.

"Although not particularly aggressive by nature, pandas do have this potential and are very territorial animals. You can go in with young animals under the age of two years; however, after this age we really would not recommend it and certainly our keepers are never in the same area as our giant pandas."

In 2011, a panda attacked a keeper at San Diego zoo, and a 15-year-old boy was savaged at Beijing Zoo in 2007 when he leapt over a fence during feeding time.

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