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Panda, Tuan Tuan, dies in Taiwan zoo

Updated: Nov 20, 2022 By ZHANG YI Print
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A Chinese mainland spokeswoman expressed sadness over the death of giant panda Tuan Tuan, gifted by the mainland to Taiwan, saying the panda symbolised the development of peaceful relations across the Straits.

The 18-year-old male panda, one of two giant pandas gifted by the mainland to Taiwan in 2008 died on Saturday, Taiwan's Taipei Zoo announced.

Tuan Tuan and his mate, Yuan Yuan, have been popular among Taiwan compatriots, especially children, since they arrived at Taipei Zoo in 2008. They have had two cubs, one in 2013 and another in 2020.

"Fourteen years ago, the arrival of the pair of pandas to Taiwan was a significant symbol of the development for the peaceful relations across the two sides," Zhu Fenglian, the spokeswoman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said in a statement on Saturday

"For years, they have brought joy and good memories to our compatriots in Taiwan," Zhu said, adding that people from both the mainland and Taiwan were expressing their condolences and memories of Tuan Tuan in various ways.

The giant pandas, which are one of our national treasures, deserve to be cherished by people of the two sides and both sides should cherish and maintain their positive interaction, she said.

Tuan Tuan's heart stopped beating at 1:48 pm on Saturday under anesthetic. The panda had suffered a spate of seizures in the early hours of Saturday morning until 7 am after veterinarians administered anti-seizure and calming medications.

The animal has appeared increasingly lethargic and unsteady on his feet in recent months, arousing concerns on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.

Zhu said since the panda fell ill, the mainland convened an expert team to communicate with Taipei Zoo online and sent two experts to Taiwan to assist with the diagnosis and treatment.

Expressing gratitude to the teams of the two sides, the zoo and all parties concerned for their efforts in treating the panda, Zhu said, it hoped the two sides would continue to cooperate in the protection of giant pandas.

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