Mainland vet experts set to assist treatment of giant panda in Taiwan

2022-10-31 09:04:23Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

As Chinese mainland veterinary experts plan to visit the island of Taiwan to provide assistance in the treatment of giant panda Tuan Tuan, the Taipei Zoo told the Global Times on Sunday that the required applications for the experts have been completed and the facility is awaiting the finalized list of the expert team, as the beloved panda's brain tumor has been progressing rapidly since it was first diagnosed in September. 

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 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans the panda took on September 28 and again on October 22, Eve Wang, animal section chief of the Taipei Zoo, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

According to Wang, although the diagnosis for Tuan Tuan has not yet been confirmed, it is highly probable that he has been suffering from a brain tumor, given the two MRI results. 

Based on Tuan Tuan's physical condition, it is highly risky for the panda to go through an invasive examination to obtain the final diagnosis, since the awakening process for Tuan Tuan took a lot longer during the second MRI taken under anesthesia, Wang said. 

Officials and experts on both sides across the Straits have been working together to treat the seriously ill giant panda since September. 

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council, told media on Friday that the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, Southwest China's Sichuan Province had formed a team of experts and kept in close contact with the Taipei Zoo since September. After receiving an invitation from the zoo, the center made preparations to send two experts to help diagnose and treat Tuan Tuan. 

The required formalities for the mainland veterinary experts to visit the island of Taiwan have been completed, and the experts can set off as soon as the Wolong center finalizes the list of the experts going to Taiwan, a staffer from the Taipei Zoo surnamed Lin told the Global Times on Sunday. 

While awaiting the mainland experts, the zoo has been giving the panda continuous doses of medicine and improving its nutrition based on the consensus on the treatment, medication and other matters that was reached by vet experts from across the Straits, Wang said, noting that the condition of the panda has been unstable over the past few days so that the zoo has changed to palliative care. 

During a press conference on Friday, the zoo said that it is impossible to predict how long Tuan Tuan can survive, since there has been no final diagnosis. The zoo assessed the condition of the panda from its daily food consumption, movements and its abnormal daily performances. 

According to Lin, the zoo will notify the public in due course on related issues, including when the mainland experts will arrive, how long they will stay and how they will help to treat Tuan Tuan. 

Tuan Tuan and his partner Yuan Yuan were sent to the island of Taiwan by the Chinese mainland in 2008 as a goodwill gift with their names combined to form the word "reunion" in Chinese. Yuan Yuan gave birth in 2013 and 2020 respectively to two cubs named Yuan Zai and Yuan Bao. 

Tuan Tuan's health has drawn concern among the public on both sides of the Taiwan Straits and become one of the hottest topics across the Straits since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's reckless visit to the island in early August. 

"Thanks for the attentive care the Taipei Zoo has given to the panda and no matter what the result, both sides of the Straits will face it together," said another netizen from the mainland on Sina Weibo. 


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