Vets hoped it was an accident when the youngster’s parent stepped on him after he was born at a wildlife park.
They treated his injuries and returned him to her two hours later – only for her to attack him again.
A keeper drove the mother off as the calf sobbed under a blanket.
One worker explained: ‘The calf was very upset and he was crying for five hours before he could be consoled.
‘He couldn’t bear to be parted from his mother and it was his mother who was trying to kill him.’
The new arrival, called Zhuang-zhuang, has now been adopted by the keeper who saved him at the Shendiaoshan wild animal reserve in Rong-cheng, China.
‘They have made a good bond,’ said a spokesman for the park. ‘We don’t knowwhy the mother turned on her calf but we couldn’t take a chance.’
Living in captivity outside of traditional family groups can interfere with animals’ protective instincts towards their young.