A zookeeper in China has died after being mauled by a group of black bears in front of tourists.
Horrified visitors claimed on social media that the animal carer was torn up and eaten by the beasts at Shanghai Wild Animal Park.
The park confirmed that a worker had died after being attacked by bears. It did not give details or comment on the online allegations.
The park has shut the relevant sections temporarily following the matter, according to a statement.
The accident took place on Saturday afternoon, the park said.
It added that the victim was ‘carrying out work’ in the areas for wild beasts – an open-air section where large carnivore animals are allowed to roam free to be observed by tourists on board of specialised vehicles.
Footage supplied to MailOnline purports to show the accident. The 56-second clip, shot from a tourist bus, shows around eight bears gathering in a pond at a distance, seemingly engaging in an activity together.
MailOnline cannot independently verify the video.
A separate video circulating among Chinese media shows terrified tourists inside a bus fearing for the worst as they yelled ‘what are they (the bears) doing’ and ‘there seems to be a man’.
Shanghai Wild Animal Park said it had set up a special team to investigate the matter. It vowed to strengthen its safety management.
The park said that it was heartbroken over the death of the worker and had expressed condolences to the victim’s family.
It also apologised to the public for the inconvenience the accident brought.
Occupying 374 acres, Shanghai Wild Animal Park keeps more than 100,000 animals belonging to more than 200 species, according to its website.
It consists of a walking area where visitors observe various species on foot and a bus-riding section where tourists enjoy close contact with wild animals while on board of a vehicle.