After epileptic seizures: a panda donated by China died in a zoo in Taiwan (photo)
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The Taipei Zoo received a pair of pandas 14 years ago as a symbol of good relations between China and Taiwan. Their names Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan together mean “reunion”.
A giant panda, which China presented to the island 14 years ago as a symbol of good relations, died in a zoo in Taiwan. The 18-year-old animal died after epileptic seizures. This was reported at the Taipei Zoo, according to The Guardian.
“Our medical team has confirmed that Tuan Tuan's heart has stopped beating,” the zoo said in a brief statement.
Tuan Tuan and his breeding partner Yuan Yuan were transferred to Taiwan by Beijing at the end of 2008 when relations between them were more cordial. China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has promised to one day reclaim the self-governing democratic island.
It is reported that the panda was immersed in deep anesthesia for a CT scan on November 19. However, the zoo team decided not to wake Tuan Tuan from deep sleep due to the fact that the animal's health condition turned out to be “irreversible”.
“It would be extremely painful and risky for Tuan Tuan to resuscitate him after anesthesia,” the zoo said.
Veterinarians first noticed that the 18-year-old panda began to get sick in August. She began to have convulsions and became increasingly unsteady and lethargic. The scan showed that she had brain damage, and anticonvulsants were prescribed.
The zoo suspected that Tuan Tuan had a tumor, in October he was transferred to palliative care. The attacks have resumed in the last few days. They were more frequent than before, and medications could not relieve the symptoms.
A pair of pandas, whose names together mean “reunion” or “unity”, gained immense popularity in Taiwan, and Yuan Yuan gave birth to two cubs.
Reporters note that China has been using “panda diplomacy” for a long time. Giving Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan as a gift was seen as an endorsement of the presidency of then-Beijing-friendly leader Ma Ying-jeou.
In 2021, scientists figured out how pandas' black and white color helps them survive.