Health condition of panda in Taiwan island improves; mainland experts set to return
Published: Nov 06, 2022 09:45 PM
Giant panda Tuan Tuan Photo: VCG

Giant panda Tuan Tuan Photo: VCG

Veterinary experts from the Chinese mainland assisting in the treatment on the severely ill giant panda Tuan Tuan gifted to the island of Taiwan observed improvements in the panda's condition and they are expected to return to the mainland on Monday, the Global Times learned on Sunday.

The two experienced veterinary experts, Wu Honglin and Wei Ming, traveled from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, Southwest China's Sichuan Province and arrived at Taipei Zoo on November 1. They have considerable expertise in disease prevention and control of giant pandas and the scientific research in the breeding of giant pandas, the center said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Sunday. 

They are in continuous communication with Tuan Tuan's vet experts and zookeepers and have been working together to provide medical treatment and nursing care, the center said.

From their observations and communications over the past few days, they think Tuan Tuan's appetite, mental condition and its walking posture have all improved, while its continuous normal walking time has also increased, according to the statement. 

Tuan Tuan, an 18-year-old male giant panda gifted to Taiwan island from the mainland, fell ill in August and was found to be suffering from brain necrosis in late September. The disease progressed rapidly according to the results of MRI scans of the panda's brain on September 18 and again on October 22. Experts said it is likely he has a brain tumor, given the two MRI results.

Based on previous examination results, physical condition and the results from the medicines administered, the mainland experts agreed to the continuation of palliative treatment to the panda after fully communicating with Taipei Zoo. The treatment and care plans will be adjusted as the disease progresses, according to the statement. 

Based on his current physical condition, Tuan Tuan is not a candidate for anesthesia or invasive examination to obtain a precise diagnosis, the experts said. Considering that Tuan Tuan is improving, the experts have decided to continue palliative treatment for a while, read the statement. 

Due to the zookeepers' proactive treatment and meticulous care and nursing, Tuan Tuan's condition is stable, the experts said, noting that they were also glad to see his mate Yuan Yuan and their offspring Yuan Zai and Yuan Bao are also being taken good care of and are healthy, the experts were quoted as saying in the statement. 

The two experts are expected to depart for Sichuan on Monday, the Global Times learned from Taipei Zoo on Sunday. 

The mainland vet experts will remain in close contact with Taipei Zoo and provide real-time suggestions and help according to the changing conditions of Tuan Tuan.  

"The Wolong center will continue to provide support and assistance as it always does if we are needed to come to the island again to assist in the treatment and care of the panda," Wei said in the statement, wishing a soon recovery of Tuan Tuan. 

Although the two experts have only been on the island for a few days, they have felt the care and concern from the local public toward the giant panda. According to the experts, they have witnessed many Taiwan compatriots extending their best wishes to the panda through both online social media platforms and at the zoo.  

"We hope these best wishes will bring more power and courage to Tuan Tuan to overcome the disease," Wei said.