18-year-old panda euthanized at Taipei Zoo after series of seizures

Sad news emerged from Taiwan over the weekend with the announcement that an 18-year-old panda at the Taipei Zoo had to be euthanized, as the Taipei Times reports.

According to the outlet, the late panda, Tuan Tuan, had suffered from a series of seizures over the preceding hours and had also recently been diagnosed with a brain lesion.

Difficult decision

Reports indicated that as the animal continued to be afflicted with seizures, medical specialists at the zoo decided to administer an anticonvulsant, but to no avail.

Later, a stronger preparation as well as sedatives were given to address Tuan Tuan’s condition.

Though the panda did reportedly regain a state of consciousness for a period of time, he was said to be extremely weak and remained unable to eat, the Times further noted.

Doctors at the zoo completed a physical exam that included a CT scan, and after reviewing the results, determined that Tuan Tuan’s quality of life would continue to be extremely compromised.

It was then that the heartbreaking decision to euthanize the panda with a strong dose of anesthetic was made, according to the outlet.

Poignant symbol mourned

As the Associated Press noted, Tuan Tuan was gifted to the Taipei Zoo together with his mate, Yuan Yuan, back in 2008, as a gesture intended to signify improving relations between China and Taiwan.

Since then, tensions between Beijing and Taiwan have risen significantly, with China severing formal contact with Taipei in 2016.

Tuan Tuan’s passing has, however, united the two sides in grief, with Zhu Fenglian, the spokeswoman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, expressing sadness over his demise and offering gratitude to those who attempted to save the panda’s life.

The office of former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou released a statement echoing the sadness felt by so many and thanking the panda for providing years of joy and entertainment for the people of his country.

Ma added his hope that additional friendly exchanges of the type embodied by Tuan Tuan’s 2008 arrival might be in the offing, though given the icy stance taken by Beijing toward Taiwan in recent years, he – and millions more – may be disappointed.