People express wishes and concerns to Panda Tuan Tuan gifted from Chinese mainland after falling ill
Published: Oct 25, 2022 09:25 PM
Giant panda Tuan Tuan celebrated its 14th birthday at the Taipei Zoo on August 30, 2018. Photo: IC

Giant panda Tuan Tuan celebrated its 14th birthday at the Taipei Zoo on August 30, 2018. Photo: IC

The 18-year-old male giant panda Tuan Tuan gifted by the Chinese mainland to the Taiwan island in 2008 has been found to have necrosis in its brain after it suffered seizures at the Taipei Zoo. The news aroused concerns among the public on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. Joint medical treatment of the panda by vet experts from both sides is ongoing. 

According to a manager from the Taipei Zoo, Tuan Tuan's activities have been declining for days with its rest time increasing significantly. Its food consumption and mental health have also been dropping. It has weakness in its hind limbs and walk with a gait not akin to that of before, China News Service reported on Monday. 

The daily observation records of the panda on Monday showed that Tuan Tuan ate 6.6 kilograms of bamboos, an apparent drop from the average amount of 12.3 kilograms in September. Its defecation dropped to 8.4 kilograms, also a significant decrease than the average of 11.3 kilograms in September. 

Tuan Tuan was found to have suspected epilepsy when it had a three-minute seizure for the first time on August 31. After the zoo immediately conducted diagnosis and treatment, its appetite and activities were regained and it did not show further symptoms suspected of epilepsy until October 15. 

The zoo had planned to present it to the public on October 18 but it showed symptoms on October 16 again. 

The panda has taken magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) twice on September 18 and October 22 and related examinations and the results have been handed over to medical experts. The diagnosis will be disclosed in due time.

Tuan Tuan and his partner Yuan Yuan were gifted to the island of Taiwan by the Chinese mainland in 2008 as a goodwill gift. The two pandas' names are combined to form the word "reunion" in Chinese. 

Since being gifted to Taiwan, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan have given birth to two cubs, one named Yuan Zai in 2013 and the other named Yuan Bao in 2020. Many people, particularly children, are fascinated with the panda family. 

Since Tuan Tuan got ill, many people sent their good wishes via the internet. The Taipei Zoo posted a group of photos about Tuan Tuan and disclosed its recent conditions on social media on Monday. 

The post received over 12,000 feedbacks from the public including over 850 comments of best wishes and concerns. Many netizens cheered the panda up and pled for the best treatment from its medical team. 

The Taipei Zoo and China Conservation and the Research Center for Giant Panda in Wolong, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, have kept in touch since Tuan Tuan got ill. 

The experts from both sides of the Taiwan Straits have been communicating smoothly online, analyzing the medical examination results on Tuan Tuan and exchanging their views on the course of disease, the prescriptions and other matters. It will not rule out the possibility of inviting mainland experts to the island for consultation in the future, according to the China News Service report. 

At present, the experts have started to administer medicines and give it infusion in accordance with its symptoms to relieve its pains and discomforts. It is also fed with nutrition supplements such as protein, vitamins, dietary fiber through its daily diets. 

Pandas' average life span in the wild is 14 to 20 years, but they can live far longer in captivity, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Tuan Tuan turned 18 on September 1. 

Global Times