Published On: Wed, May 25th, 2016

Man killed taking selfies with a walrus after it drags him under water

  • The walrus grabbed the man from behind while he was taking pictures 
  • Incident took place at Xixiakou Wildlife Park in China’s Liaoning province
  • A zoo keeper went to rescue the man but was also killed by the animal


A man in China who tried to take a selfie with a walrus was killed by the animal as it playfully dragged the man into the water, according eyewitnesses.

The incident occurred earlier this month at Xixiakou Wildlife Park in Rongcheng city in the north-east of the country, reports the People’s Daily Online.

The business man, Jia Lijun, had visited the park alone and had been taking videos and pictures to put on his social media account when the walrus, which reportedly weighed nearly 1.5 tonnes, grabbed him from behind.

According to the report, Jia’s family learned the tragic news on the evening of May 11.

However, local media didn’t specify the exact date of the accident.

The Chinese media reported the news last week, saying Jia had been killed by a walrus which dragged him into a pool.

However this week, claimed emerged that Jia had been taking selfies and videos with the marine mammal at the time of the accident.

A friend of Jia, surnamed Wu, said the man was very excited about meeting the walrus and had sent many photos and videos to friends.

Wu was a recipient of the videos.

He told local reporters: ‘Who would have thought that at three o’clock he would send me a video, talking and laughing and just a few minutes he was drowning in the water.’

Wu learnt from an eyewitness that the attack came when Jia was posing for a selfie.

Wu added: ‘His back was to the walrus, and he took a selfie, the walrus came from behind and pulled him into the pool to play. He was killed by the walrus, he didn’t accidentally fall into the water.’

According to onlookers, the walrus clung to the man from behind and dragged him to the pool of water, submerging him and swinging him around.

The animal’s keeper surnamed Duan found some bamboo sticks to try and rescue the man however it didn’t go to plan.

He then decided to enter the pool.

It was at this moment that the animal released Jia and rushed towards Duan.

Duan has been described as a ‘strong swimmer’ by his colleagues but unfortunately the huge walrus held both men in a tight embrace and dragged them under the water.

By the time they were rescued, it was already too late.

Many people have criticised the park for not having a barrier between the public and the animals.

Wu agrees: ‘This is the root cause of the tragedy. In the viewing area, people and the walrus can come into close contact.’

Zoo staff believe that it was a playful gesture as the keeper had been looking after the animal since it arrived at the zoo as a baby more than 10 years ago.

On China’s social media sites people have been discussing the story.

On Weibo, many people say that there should have been some boundary between the animals and the visitors.

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One user wrote: ‘Every time I see safari tourists in close contact with animals, I worry about an accident.’

While another commented: ‘The zoo does not take into account these security risks’.

And another said: ‘This is not the animal’s fault. These large animals have been dangerous to humans. The zoo has no proper safety measures so where is the line?’

The walrus attraction at the park remains open.

The zoo has taken responsibility for the accident and has paid Jia’s family 900,000 yuan (£94,000) in compensation.


About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology

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