Saturday, 31. January 2015
04. 08. 14. - 16:00
This giant panda at a Chinese sanctuary gave celebrations to mark his fourth birthday the cold shoulder, when he tried to get back in his enclosure to avoid sweltering 33 degree temperatures.
The entire town turned out at Taiyuan Zoo in Shanxi Province to celebrate Caitao's and his sister Huchun's big day.
But locked out of his cool cage and forced to sit in his thick fur under the sweltering sun, fed up Caitao had other plans and turned his back on the party - complete with bamboo birthday cake - to get back to the air conditioned comfort of his enclosure.
And snaps of the panicked panda trying to get back in the cool that were widely shared on social media in China drew widespread criticism in a country where animal rights are slowly but surely ending up on the agenda.
Users bombarded the zoo with criticism, turning the ill planned birthday into a PR disaster.
On Weibo one user posted: "They are supposed to be able to care for these endangered animals, surely its basic common sense not to lock them in the sun without any shade? The poor animal was clearly suffering."
"They normally come out first thing in the morning or the evening because the middle of the day is too hot," admitted one keeper.
"But the party was at midday when the temperature was at its highest and it was just too much for Caitao," he admitted.
The pair have been on loan at the zoo from the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries since last spring.
"Their enclosure is at a steady 27 degrees which is ideal for them. Anything much hotter and they start to feel uncomfortable, which is exactly what happened when they were forced out into the sun.
"There were hundreds of people here to wish them a happy birthday but what they really wanted to do was cool off," said visitor Gang Tuan.
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