A man in China who took a selfie with a walrus was killed by the animal shortly afterward — when it dragged him into the water.
The story of Chinese businessman Jia Lijun who was visiting the Xixiakou Wildlife Park in Rongcheng city in north-east China has come to prominence online after the story resurfaced thanks to various media reports.
According to China’s People’s Daily Online, Lijun had been taking selfies and videos with a walrus, who reportedly weighed 1.5 tonnes, to share on social media.
However, after Lijun had taken some photos with the huge walrus, the animal grabbed him from behind and dragged him into the water.
As the gigantic walrus dragged its victim under the water while spectators and zoo staff at the Xixiajou Wildlife Park in the Shandong Province watched on, believing the spectacle to be “playful behaviour.”
According to onlookers at the park, the walrus clung to the man from behind and dragged him to the pool of water, submerging him and swinging him around.
Eventually, the walrus’ long-time trainer jumped into the water in an attempt to save the tourist.
The trainer, who was named as Duan in Chinese media reports, had been taking care of the walrus for over a decade since it arrived at Xixiakou Wildlife Park as a baby. Duan was considered to be the walrus’ closest human friend.
When the walrus spotted Duan in the water, the creature rushed toward him. Duan has been described as a “strong swimmer” by his colleagues. But unfortunately, the huge walrus grabbed Duan too.
The walrus held both men in a tight embrace and dragged them under the water — drowning and killing the pair.
The horrifying incident occurred in May 2016. However, the incident has been drawing international media attention once again as selfie-related deaths continue to be considered a public health concern seven years later.
According to recent research, the most common selfie-related deaths have come about from people falling off cliffs and waterfalls while taking a photo.
Onlookers taking selfies has also reportedly led to the death of animals in recent months. In September, people taking selfies with ponies at a tourist hotspot reportedly caused a newborn pony to fall to its death from a cliff.
Image credits: All photos via Twitter.