KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – An orangutan at a wildlife sanctuary fought with a French tourist for her backpack, leaving her bruised and scratched, an official said Tuesday.
Odile Nordon, 24, was taking photographs of Delima, a female orangutan roaming free in Malaysia's Semenggoh Wildlife Center on Borneo island on Sunday, when the animal grabbed at the backpack.
They fought briefly over the bag, with Delima ripping Nordon's pants.
"She had scratches and bruise marks on her knees and thighs," Wilfred Landong, the chief park warden of Malaysia's Sarawak state, told The Associated Press.
Nordon, who managed to keep her backpack, told the New Straits Times newspaper that she thought orangutans were "friendly, cuddly creatures."
"It's a painful lesson to find out the truth," the newspaper quoted Nordon as saying.
Landong said the park considered what happened to be "an accident."
"We are not faulting anyone," he said. "But we remind tourists that they should not go too near the orangutans."
Orangutans are native to the forests of Malaysia and Indonesia. They have a shaggy, reddish-brown coat, long arms and no tail. The wildlife center has several signs warning visitors to walk away if orangutans approach them because the animals tend to grab at humans and objects, Landong said.