Walrus in Chinese wildlife park kills 2 people in front of horrified tourists

Hugs tightly and drowns tourist & trainer
By @vitthernandez on
Walrus "Odin" is checked by an animal keeper during the annual inventory in Hagenbecks zoo in Hamburg, northern Germany on May 16, 2013. Reuters/Fabian Bimmer

Horrified tourists at Xixiakou Wildlife Park in Shandong Province in China watched a 3,300-pound walrus kill two people. The victims, a male tourist from Liaoning and the longtime trainer of the animal, died because the walrus hugged them tightly and drowned the two.

It was the Liaoning man who fell into the walrus pool after he lost his footing. The trainer then jumped into the pool to save the visitor, but the walrus wrapped its arms tightly around the two men and dove underwater, drowning the two men, reports The New York Post.

Zoo officials say there is no evidence that the walrus attacked the two, instead it appears to be trying to get its trainer, identified as Duan, to play, reports Shanghai Daily. Other zoo workers tried to save the two by using bamboo poles to drive away the walrus. However, by the time the two men were pulled up, they were already dead.

Duan has been the walrus’s trainer and carer for over a decade. Zoo workers said the walrus has a mild temper, but loves to play much with humans.

The report notes the lack of a banister to prevent tourists from falling into the walrus pool. The walkway above the pool is also narrow, only three feet wide, and tourists are free to walk along it, reports Daily Mail. The wildlife park remains open to tourists.

The story and video has become viral in Weibo, China’s most popular microblogging site. So far, around 250,000 Weibo users gave read and commented on the story.