Beloved panda Tuan Tuan, gifted by China to Taiwan, dies

Tuan Tuan lies on the bottom on the Taipei Zoo in Taipei, Taiwan. File.
| Photograph Credit score: AP

A panda that China gifted to Taiwan 14 years in the past as a logo of what have been then hotter ties died on Saturday, after struggling a spate of seizures, Taipei Zoo stated.

Tuan Tuan and his breeding mate Yuan Yuan got to Taiwan by Beijing in late 2008, at a time when relations between the 2 have been extra cordial.

China views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to sooner or later deliver the self-ruled democratic island into the fold, by power if crucial.

“Our medical staff has confirmed that Tuan Tuan’s coronary heart stopped beating at 13:48,” the zoo stated in a brief assertion.

The panda was put beneath deep anaesthesia to take CT scans earlier Saturday, and the staff determined to “let Tuan Tuan proceed to sleep” after the outcomes indicated his situation was “irreversible” and that he might not ”reside a top quality life”, zoo officers stated.

”It will have been extraordinarily painful and dangerous for Tuan Tuan to resuscitate him from the anaesthesia,” stated spokesman Eric Tsao.

Vets first seen Tuan Tuan, 18, was sick in August, when he started struggling seizures and appeared more and more unsteady and torpid.

Scans confirmed he had a mind lesion and he was positioned on anti-seizure medicine.

The zoo suspected Tuan Tuan had a tumour and he was moved into palliative care final month.

The seizures returned up to now few days, extra frequent than earlier than, and medication couldn’t ease the signs.

Followers mourned Tuan Tuan’s loss of life on social media, whereas Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je thanked the panda in an Instagram publish for “bringing happiness to Taiwanese individuals and making Taipei Zoo extra fantastic”.

Panda hailed for bettering ties

Taiwan’s high China policy-making physique, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), hailed the panda’s function in bettering ties with Beijing.

Tuan Tuan “let everybody know extra about large pandas and assist promote exchanges between the 2 sides… MAC is saddened that he has handed away,” it stated in an announcement.

The panda couple — whose names mixed imply “reunion” or “unity” — had grow to be large stars in Taiwan and Yuan Yuan has given delivery to 2 feminine cubs.

China has lengthy deployed “panda diplomacy” and the gifting of Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan was seen as endorsing the presidency of then Beijing-friendly chief Ma Ying-jeou.

Beijing solely loans pandas to overseas zoos, which should often return any offspring inside a couple of years of their delivery to hitch the nation’s breeding programme.

However Taiwan was granted an exception as a part of a short attraction offensive China launched within the late 2000s, with Beijing totally gifting each Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan and any offspring.

Relations between China and Taiwan have been on ice since 2016 with Beijing severing official communications and authorities visits between the 2 sides scrapped.

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