A panda donated by China to Taiwan 14 years ago, in a more lenient diplomatic era between the two sides, died on Saturday after suffering a series of strokes, the Taipei Zoo said.
Tuan Tuan, and his partner Yuan Yuan, whose names mean “unity” Where “meetingin Chinese, were offered in 2008 by China to Taiwan, which it considers to be part of its territory, to symbolize the improvement in their relations, which are now at their lowest. “Our medical team confirmed that Tuan Tuan’s heart stopped beating at 1:48 p.m. (0548 GMT)the zoo said in a short statement.
The panda was anesthetized for a CT scan on Saturday and the team decided to “let Tuan Tuan sleep“, the imagery indicating that his condition was”irreversible» and that he could no longer «lead a quality life“, according to zoo officials. “It would have been extremely painful and risky for Tuan Tuan to resuscitate him after anesthesia“said Eric Tsao, a spokesperson.
Vets discovered in August that 18-year-old Tuan Tuan was ill, with scans revealing he had a brain injury. The zoo, which suspected the animal had a brain tumor, said placed in palliative care last month.
At the end of October, Chinese veterinarians had been invited by Taiwan to visit the panda. Generally, Beijing lends its pandas and any offspring must be sent to China, under the “panda diplomacy“, a gift that China uses to strengthen ties with other countries.
The couple’s arrival in 2008 sparked a real “panda maniaacross the island, especially after the birth of baby panda Yuan Zai. On social media, his fans mourned Tuan Tuan’s death, while Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je on Instagram thanked the panda for “brought joy to Taiwanese and made the Taipei Zoo more wonderful“.
The island and the mainland have been governed separately since 1949, but the Chinese communist regime claims sovereignty over Taiwan.
Since the 2016 election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, China has ruled out any offer to negotiate with Taiwan and stepped up pressure against an island it still sees as a rebel province slated to return to its mother’s fold. homeland, by force if necessary.
Tensions between Taiwan and China reached their highest level in years in August, when Beijing staged massive and unprecedented military maneuvers to protest against a trip to the island of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives , Nancy Pelosi.
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