Health of giant panda at Taiwan zoo examined

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Panda experts from the Chinese mainland have found that the health condition of a giant panda in Taiwan's Taipei Zoo, that is suspected of having a malignant brain tumor, is better than expected, island media reported on Wednesday, citing the zoo.

The 18-year-old male panda named Tuan Tuan, one of two giant pandas gifted by the mainland to Taiwan in 2008, appeared increasingly lethargic and unsteady on his feet recently, arousing concerns on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.

Two mainland veterinarians, Wu Honglin and Wei Ming, sent by the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan province, arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday to examine the panda's health.

The center received a request for assistance from the zoo on Oct 27 and soon decided to send the two specialists on giant panda health to the zoo.

The zoo said it has exchanged detailed information with the experts and the experts have checked on the panda, and they will give feedback on whether it is the animal's brain that is causing weakness in its hind limbs, according to the report.

There is no updated treatment plan yet, and the two experts will communicate with other mainland experts in the next few days. It is hoped they can give opinions from the observation of the panda's behavior, but it will take three to four days, the zoo said, according to the report.

Before the experts leave Taiwan, the zoo will hold a news conference to explain the panda's condition.

Tuan Tuan and his mate, Yuan Yuan, have been popular among Taiwan compatriots, especially children, since they arrived at Taipei Zoo in 2008.

They have had two cubs, one in 2013 and another in 2020.

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