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Zoo says accusations of panda abuse groundless
   2016-10-17 09:44:01    Global Times      Web Editor: Zhang Xu

Giant panda Shulan faces visitors at the Lanzhou Zoo in Northwest China¡¯s Gansu Province. Pictures of Shulan with alleged blood on its back went viral on Saturday. [Photo: CFP]

The Lanzhou Zoo in Northwest China's Gansu Province denied any abuse of a panda after pictures allegedly showing a huge amount of blood on the animal's back sparked an uproar among the public, saying the panda might have been struck by bamboo.

Wang Huitai, deputy head of the Lanzhou Zoo, told the Global Times Sunday that the giant panda named Shulan was found injured on her back with a less-than-one-centimeter abrasion on Friday and "we believe it was caused by a bamboo strike."

The zoo veterinarian regarded the wound as not serious and sprayed some iodine around it, which might have been mistaken as the alleged blood, added Wang.

The State Bureau of Forestry on Saturday pledged to further investigate the case.

Viral pictures showed that 22-year-old Shulan was walking on the grass in the zoo with a strikingly pink area on the right side of her back. Many Net users believed it was blood and questioned if the zoo had abused the panda. Meanwhile, some Net users said that Shulan had been shut away from the public, which deepened suspicions about the zoo's poor management.

Wang explained that as the pictures drew a lot of media visits, they had to put Shulan inside.

"We would consider bringing her back for public viewing on Monday if the situation gets better," said Wang.

The zoo was a target of similar accusations in March 2013, when Net users complained that the environment provided to the captive panda was dirty and the facility was poor, news site thepaper.cn reported on Sunday.

Shulan's cub Lanbao died in 2012. While some Net users claimed that Lanbao appeared "as lean as a rake," the zoo said it died of illness. 

Chinese Net users have shown great concern for the national treasure. Earlier this month, a zoo in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province was also criticized for failing to prevent a panda from eating garbage, media reported.

 

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