One of two pandas donated by China to Taiwan dies
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TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Tuan Tuan, one of two giant pandas gifted to Taiwan by China, died Saturday after a brief illness, the Taipei Zoo said.

The cause of death was not immediately reported, but earlier reports said the panda was believed to have a malignant brain tumor, prompting China to send a pair of experts to Taiwan earlier this month to help with its investigation. treatment.

Tuan Tuan did not respond and, after a series of convulsions, was placed in an induced coma on Saturday, according to the Taiwanese press.

Tuan Tuan and his partner, Yuan Yuan, were given to the zoo in 2008, during a time of warm relations between China and Taiwan, which split amid a civil war in 1949. Both were born in China in 2004 and managed to have a mate. of puppies in Taiwan.

The average lifespan of pandas in the wild is 15 to 20 years, while they can live 30 years or more under human care.

Relations between Beijing and Taipei have waned sharply since the couple’s arrival, with China cutting ties in 2016 following the election of pro-independence president Tsai Ing-wen, who was re-elected in 2020.

China sends pandas abroad as a sign of goodwill, but retains ownership of the animals and the young they produce. An unofficial national mascot, these animals are native to southwestern China, breed rarely, and rely almost exclusively on a diet of bamboo.

An estimated 1,800 pandas live in the wild, while another 500 are in zoos or reserves, mostly in Sichuan, where they are a protected species but remain threatened by habitat loss.


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