China’s well-known ‘Panda diplomacy’ faces a check – after a bear in Taiwan got here down with a life-threatening mind lesion.
Taipei Zoo instructed CNN on Thursday that they had requested assist from consultants in China to deal with their Large Panda, Tuan Tuan, after an MRI scan revealed the injury.
They’re hoping for help in treating Tuan Tuan after he started behaving abnormally, misplaced his urge for food and suffered a three-minute seizure in late August.
However the request raises the opportunity of a fragile diplomatic balancing act, given relations between China and Taiwan have taken a nosedive since US Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-governing island in August.
China considers Taiwan a part of its territory, regardless of by no means having ruled it, and has vowed to “reunify” it with the Chinese language mainland, by power if vital. Since Pelosi’s go to, it has ramped up strain on the island by holding a collection of army workout routines on its doorstep.
Now animal lovers on each side of the Taiwan Strait will likely be watching to see the way it responds the zoo’s request.
Tuan Tuan and his associate Yuan Yuan have been gifted to Taiwan by China in 2008 as a goodwill reward from Beijing – as a part of its longstanding observe often known as “panda diplomacy.”
However the two animals, whose mixed names kind the phrase “reunion” in Chinese language, have been additionally a refined political token of the Communist Get together’s view of Taiwan.
There have been some indicators Beijing is keen to increase the olive department. Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for mainland China’s Taiwan Affairs Workplace, stated the Taipei Zoo had notified the Large Panda Safety Analysis Middle in Chengdu, Sichuan province, of Tuan Tuan’s situation. And state-run information outlet China Each day reported on Wednesday that consultants from China have been keen to offer technical help to the zoo and assist the animal.
A Taipei Zoo spokesperson stated it might “very a lot welcome the assistance” however added that Chinese language consultants “haven’t specified whether or not they intend to ship any consultants right here this time.”
The spokesperson stated that beforehand, “Either side have cooperated intently to take care of the enormous pandas,” and “commonly trade information.”
“Prior to now, when the panda gave delivery, additionally they despatched consultants to help us,” the spokesperson added.
Since being gifted to Taiwan, Tuan Tuan and his associate Yuan Yuan have given delivery to 2 cubs, one in 2013 and one other in 2020.
In an announcement, the zoo stated Tuan Tuan was “recovering beneath commentary behind the scenes” and it was “vital to attend for all check outcomes earlier than clarifying the trigger [of his illness].”
Pandas’ common life span within the wild is 14-20 years, however they will reside far longer in captivity, in response to the World Vast Fund for Nature. Tuan Tuan turned 18 in August.
In July, the world’s oldest male large panda in captivity, named An An, died in captivity in Hong Kong’s Ocean Park. It was 35 years previous.
In 2017 the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature upgraded the species from “endangered” to “susceptible” after their inhabitants grew practically 17% over the earlier decade. That transfer was mirrored by the Chinese language authorities final yr after the wild large panda inhabitants elevated to 1,800.
Large pandas are notoriously laborious to breed in captivity, however after years of decline, their numbers within the wild have elevated lately.