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Giant Panda Accidently Gassed To Death

Giant Panda Accidently Gassed To Death

Quan Quan, a 21-year-old giant panda that was on loan to the Jinan Zoo in China was moved last week to an indoor enclosure to protect her from the summer heat, but a few hours later she was found dead.  The panda was accidently exposed to deadly gasses that leaked into her habitat through a ventilation system with a design flaw.

 

Quan Quan, who was about 70 in panda years, was considered a national treasure in China because she gave birth to seven cubs during her lifetime.  Her death has drawn criticism from international animal advocacy groups who are calling for Chinese officials to strengthen the laws in the country that protect animals in captivity.

 

The autopsy showed the giant panda died from inhaling a mixture of chlorine, chlorine hydride and carbon monoxide.   The fumes made her lungs collapse. 

 

Reports from The Telegraph and the L.A. Times say that workers had been disinfecting an air raid shelter inside the zoo when the gasses leaked through the ventilation system and into the panda house. 

 

“The ventilation system was built in 1995,” a spokesman said to The Telegraph.  “It was used to keep the panda house cool, but it fed large amounts of smoke into the panda enclosure.”

 

Quan Quan was not the first panda to die at the Jinan Zoo.   In 2008 a panda named Tao Tao died of brain complications at the age of 36. 

 

China has about 250 pandas in captivity that belong to several different breeding facilities.  About half stay at a breeding center, while the other half are loaned to various zoos in the country and worldwide or given as gifts.  Quan Quan came from the Wolong Panda Breeding Center in Sichuan, which is home to 150 pandas.  Pandas are an endangered species with only 1,000 living in the wild.

 

Quan Quan’s death is causing animal groups and individuals to question the reasoning for having the breeding centers.

 

Kati Loeffler, veterinary advisor for the International Fund for Animal Welfare told the L.A. Times, “These pandas are being bred for a life in captivity.  Why are they being bred?  Just so they can circulate through zoos and live next to old air raid shelters?”

 

Loeffler pointed out that pandas have died in Chinese zoos and the breeding facilities because of malnutrition, stress, inappropriate breeding and poor veterinary care.

 

Chinese citizens have also called for change in how the pandas are treated.   They want an explanation how this type of accident could occur.  Giant pandas are treated as celebrities in the country and Quan Quan was beloved by many people.

 

A group of mourners that included adults, parents and their children held a funeral service for Quan Quan at the Jinan Zoo to pay tribute to her life.

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293 comments

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7:55PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

"Accidentally" gassing a panda means you lose the right to keep pandas- Either that, or you fix the flaw and monitor the pandas 24/7!

10:46AM PDT on Sep 10, 2010

at DESPRES C.
that's not being fair. that's racist even. i'm chinese and i love animals. i do not eat my own pets. only some chinese are like that. not many do it. so stop judging us by some people.
anyway. this is so sad, i don't think that any more pandas should live in this zoo, if it's so careless

1:02PM PDT on Aug 18, 2010

China should not keep any animal in captivity. The only thing Chinese people know is to torture animals and eat them!!! They are unhuman! They are beasts!

9:26PM PDT on Aug 14, 2010

I think Panda's should be breed in a humane way and that the zoo's that breed them and to which they are loaned out should be inspected regularly. We want to have enough pandas to put back in the wild.

9:53AM PDT on Aug 10, 2010

Viewing some of the outrageous crap which germinates in the heads of US intellectuals regarding animal treatment, how can we point the finger? Case in point is Sarah Palin speaking out in favor of wolf hunting, and participating in it. She wants to be President! Don't think anything worse than OB is lurking in the shadows? Dream on! November is coming. Wake up!

6:24AM PDT on Aug 9, 2010

RIP Quan Quan.

I don't think panda's should be bred if they're just going to be kept in captivity otherwise what's the point in breeding them?

4:42AM PDT on Aug 9, 2010

What a shame! And where are these gasses from? Why do people keep so dangerous gasses?

12:19AM PDT on Aug 7, 2010

Conosciamo benissimo tt la mentalità cinese,ci stanno inquinando il mondo e nessuno dice niente,è uno dei pochi(per fortuna)Paesi dove a tutt'gg ancora esiste la pena di morte,e nessuno dice niente,esistono gli allevamenti di orsi costretti a vivere in una gabbia dove non alcuna possibilità di movimento,con un catetere infilato perennemente nella bile e nemmeno di questi poveri animali parla nessuno perchè i rapporti con la Cina sn intoccabili!Figuriamoci se si preoccupano di un Panda,per loro è soltanto un'allevamento a scopo di lucro,come gli altri orsi o come i cani o i gatti la cui pelliccia viene venduta

9:09PM PDT on Aug 6, 2010

The big issue with China and its "new found" wealth is that they value life so little that something like this is a ho hum to them and probably never made to the news. I think there were major floods this year in China and that barely made the international news and that cost 70,000 (or so) lives.

6:53PM PDT on Aug 6, 2010

So sorry to hear about this, how can something like this even happen, accidently gassing a panda to death? Incredible...

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Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
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