The death of a panda that was previously reported by local media as ‘missing’ has raised some questions about whether its described ‘filthy’ housing environment played a role in its sudden illness.
A spokesperson for the Zhengzhou Zoo in Henan province said at a press conference on Thursday morning that the seven-year-old female panda named Jin Yi died last Sunday after she refused to eat for two days and China News Service reported that the cause was organ failure as a result of blood loss due to hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.
Jin Yi arrived at the Zhengzhou city zoo in 2011 after she’d been transferred from the Giant Panda Conservation and Research Center in Sichuan province.
New York Times’ Sinosphere reports that local news correspondents who visited the zoo described unsanitary living conditions where the “smell of feces was overpowering”.
The China News Service said its reporter had visited the panda area at the zoo where a second panda, Wen Yu, was still living and found that parts of the enclosure were filthy and that the smell of feces was overpowering.
<“The smell here assails the nostrils. Who could stand it?” the news service quoted a visitor as saying. “Every time I saw the feces on the floor, I wondered how a panda could be healthy here.”
The state-run China Daily reported that some visitors had said the panda had sometimes been struck to make it pose for pictures and fed corn cakes rather than the bamboo diet it would eat in the wild, which they speculated may have contributed to its health problems.
Sinosphere reports that the section chief for the zoo denies that Jin Yi’s diet or living environment contributed to her death, but the zoo is conducting a more thorough investigation into the cause.
Pandas in captivity usually live into their 20s.
[Image via ECNS.com]