Several tourists at the Fuyang Wildlife Park in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, captured on their cell phone cameras on Saturday a Kung Fu-style encounter between a red-crowned crane and three young tigers.
The crane put the tigers to shame by standing his ground and fending them off in their enclosure.
For many Chinese Kung Fu movie fans, the encounter recalls Master Crane, the character in the animated Kung Fu Panda. The crane’s fighting spirit gave admirers of the crane Kung Fu technique a rare opportunity to press the claim that the crane style is superior to the tiger style.
The videos above and below (scroll down) show the same encounter from different angles.
The red-crowned crane appears to have dropped accidentally into the tiger enclosure at the Chinese zoo in Hangzhou. It is uncertain how the crane dropped into the enclosure, but according to the Daily Mail, the bird had been flying overhead when he was blown into the enclosure by a sudden gust of wind.
Zookeepers said the crane was blown into the enclosure through a gap in the fence.
Spurred by their stalking instincts but hampered by lack of experience — having probably lived all or most of their lives in captivity — three young tigers closed in on the apparently injured bird, but their hesitant moves betray a lack of confidence in their ability to take advantage of the opportunity of an easy snack.
The viewer will notice from the video that the tigers chase only when the crane runs, but stop when the crane stops.
The crane tried to run for his life, at first. But after being chased around the enclosure for some time, he sensed the equal fear of the tigers when the first move in the tigers’ direction forced them to retreat.
Emboldened by the unexpected discovery of weakness in his assailants, the bird channeled the Kung Fu Master Crane in him and stood his ground, spreading his wings and appearing to raise a leg in the classic Karate Kid posture.
The crane’s fighting stance, incidentally, gives a clue where the Kung Fu masters got the inspiration of the crane fighting technique.
Master Crane was able to fend off the tigers for minutes until he — or rather the tigers — was rescued by zookeepers.
Onlookers at the zoo, who had screamed out of concern for what had appeared to be the bird’s sealed fate, began cheering in delight when the crane, after initially attempting to run for his life, turned and launched an attack on the tigers.
The tigers now attempt to circle around the defending crane, crouching cautiously, apparently with the intention of outflanking the opponent. But the fearless crane forced the tigers into retreat repeatedly. One unprepared tiger actually jumped in fright and fled as the crane attacked.
When the zookeepers opened the door to their cages, the tigers ran thankfully for safety and cowered in their cages while the zookeepers removed their tormentor, who had suffered only minor injuries.
But in case the ability of a crane to fend off three young tigers encourages a human youngster channeling the spirit of Jackie Chan to jump into the tiger enclosure, a zookeeper warned, “We want to remind our visitors to follow the rules on our safety signs. Please don’t get too close if it says it’s dangerous on the sign, and please don’t climb on the protective rails.”
[Image: Wikimedia Commons]