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'Hug' from walrus drowns tourist and keeper, reflecting likely safety defect

A tourist and an animal keeper trying to save him were both killed after a walrus "hugged' them tightly and tugged them deep into the waters at a wildlife park in Shandong Province. 

There's no evidence to support it was an attack and the walrus might be just trying to get the humans to play with it, local media reported. 

The tourist accidentally fell into the walrus pool at the Xixiakou Wildlife Park in Rongcheng city and the walrus keeper, surnamed Duan, immediately plunged into the water trying to save him, Modern Express reported today. The incident was reported to have happened lately without being specified with an exact date, according to the report. 

But they were too weak to escape the 'hug' by the giant animal, weighing more than 1.5 tons. The incident ended with the walrus pulling them both to the deep waters. Other workers reportedly had tried driving the walrus away with bamboo poles but failed. The duo were already dead when they were finally pulled up. 

The animal keeper, Duan, had been looking after the walrus, aged more than 10 years old, for a long time and was said to have well bonded with the walrus, said the other workers. 

The walrus probably just wanted to have somebody to play with underwaters, said the workers. The killer walrus was said to have a mild temper and loves playing with humans much, the workers said. 

There is no banister at all to prevent tourists from falling into the pool while the walkway above the pool is also narrow, according to the report.


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