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Giant panda Bai Yun bites keeper at San Diego Zoo

March 14, 2011 |  8:28 pm

Bai Yun, with her cub Zhen Zhen in 2007.  Click through for a larger photo. A giant panda at the San Diego Zoo bit a keeper on the arm, requiring the keeper to be rushed to the hospital, zoo officials said Monday.,

The unusual incident occurred Sunday morning when Bai Yun, a 220-pound female, was able to push open a gate to the exhibit. As keepers were trying to herd her back into her "sleeping habitat," the animal bit a female keeper on the arm.

Officials declined to provide details on the keeper's medical condition but noted that pandas have powerful jaws. Zoo protocol calls for keepers to always keep a gate between themselves and the pandas.

"Most bears have a volatile temperament," said a spokeswoman, "and can suddenly become aggressive. Bai Yun is a normal panda who was in an abnormal area."

Bai Yun, now 19, came to the San Diego Zoo from China in 1996. She has given birth to five cubs.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Bai Yun, with her cub Zhen Zhen in 2007. Credit: Denis Poroy / Associated Press

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