China to probe death of panda loaned to Japan

14:54, September 14, 2010      

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A 14-year-old male giant panda named Long Long in Chinese and Kou Kou in Japanese died suddenly after living in the Kobe Oji Zoo in Japan for eight years.

Chinese experts suspect that the death was caused by an anesthetic overdose and questioned why the zoo extracted sperm from Long Long when it was not the panda's mating season. China's State Forestry Administration has asked the Japanese zoo to protect the body of Long Long well and sent several experts there to determine an exact cause of death.

The zoo explained that in order to collect semen for artificial insemination, the zoo gave Long Long an anesthetic on the morning of Sept. 9, but sadly the panda's heart stopped beating when the anesthetic wore off.

An expert veterinarian at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in south-central China's Sichuan province who fed Long Long before it was leased to Japan said that the zoo did not notify the Wolong center before collecting semen, and the panda may have died from an anesthetic overdose.

The director of the veterinary hospital at the research center, who is surnamed Tang, explained that a panda is still in its youth at 14 years old, but professionally speaking, September is definitely not a proper time to extract semen.

"Giant pandas seldom, if ever, generate semen in autumn. They only mate from March to May, and once the spring is over, there is little chance of collecting semen," Tang said.

The China Wildlife Conservation Association disclosed that according to a China-Japan cooperation agreement on panda breeding, Japan shall pay China 500,000 U.S dollars in compensation if a panda dies.

By People's Daily Online

(Editor:叶欣)

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