There is outrage China over a video that appears to show two giant panda cubs being mistreated.
The incident occurred at a well-known panda research facility in Chengdu province in early July.
In the footage, a handler can be seen dragging and throwing panda cubs across the floor.
The keeper at the centre of the furore, Guo Jingpeng, defended his actions by saying the pandas were acting violently and had bitten his hand, drawing blood.
Mr Guo told state news agency Xinhua that he pushed the panda away "out of instinct."
After he was criticised online for his reaction to being bitten, Mr Guo said he and his colleagues work at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding because "we love this creature".
The facility is dedicated to preserving the species, which is considered a symbol of China and is highly protected by the government.
Chinese netizens have called for Mr Guo's resignation on the popular Sina Weibo micro-blogging site.
"I don't care what he has to say, they are just babies," wrote one Beijing resident.
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"If he was so worried about his safety, why wasn't he wearing protective equipment like gloves?"
Staff at the centre have reminded handlers to treat the pandas "gently" in the wake of the controversy.