CULTURE Canada may return pandas, sparks concern


Canada may return pandas, sparks concern

Global Times

02:47, May 14, 2020


A panda rests at Wuhan Zoo in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, March 13, 2020. Wuhan Zoo was closed on Jan. 22 after the novel coronavirus outbreak. Dozens of employees in the zoo have been sticking to their posts with feeding and disinfection work for nearly a thousand animals here. (Photo: Xinhua)

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding reserved sufficient bamboos amid the COVID-19 epidemic to ensure pandas' food supply, but a Canadian zoo, which keeps two pandas loaned from China, has asked that it return them two years ahead of schedule, as the pandemic has disrupted bamboo supply.

The advanced return of the pandas has raised concerns among Chinese netizens, who fear pandas at other foreign countries would also face short supply of their favorite food.

To ensure the normal life of giant pandas, the panda base in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, stored a large amount of bamboo when the epidemic broke out, and experts at the base made an emergency food supply plan for giant pandas, an employee at the base told the Global Times on Wednesday.

He shared with the Global Times the daily work of breeders amid the special period. Breeders start disinfecting the pandas' house and outdoor playground at 8 am every day, and then they clean panda poop and leftover bamboo.

They also change the disinfectant in the foot tray at the entrance of the animal house every two hours, and disinfect the panda's kitchen and toilet thrice a day.

The response came after a report said that the Calgary Zoo was urging the Canadian and Chinese governments to expedite the necessary permits to allow the return of two giant pandas to China, as a lack of flights amid the pandemic has caused issues with the shipment of high-quality bamboo from China.

The pandas were supposed to be sent back in 2023, according to a report by China Central Television (CCTV).

Pandas only eat fresh bamboos, the report said.

Chinese netizens therefore are concerned about food supply for pandas in other foreign countries, and the possibility whether they would also be returned for lack of food and whether Chinese zoos and research bases can offer enough food to them.

The hashtag "Pandas in Canada will return" had been viewed more than 460 million times as of press time.

Most netizens care about the health of pandas residing aboard in the ongoing pandemic. 

"Do the pandas have enough fresh bamboos to eat? If not, when do we get them back?" read a typical comment on Sina Weibo.

"Welcome back! The homeland has enough fresh bamboo and you do not need to worry anymore," another netizen wrote.

The two pandas arrived in Canada in 2014 and gave birth to two cubs at the Toronto Zoo, CCTV reported.

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