Netizens are blaming a Chinese zoo for the untimely deaths of a giant panda mother and daughter last month.
A week earlier, on December 19, as the mother panda was exhibiting signs of having a fever, zookeepers separated her six-month-old daughter Hua Sheng (Peanut), who was given artificial milk.
She then underwent surgery four days later after being diagnosed with twisted intestines. About a third of her intestine, 80 centimeters in length, was removed in the procedure and later received a transfusion of blood from other pandas on December 29.
Peanut, the first giant panda to be born in Shanghai, would later die on the 31st from multiple organ failure.
According to the park officials, the zookeepers had done the best they could to save both pandas. Chinese netizens, however, have cast doubt over the zoo, alleging that the animals died due to mistreatment, reported Global Times.
One netizen, who claimed to have visited the park in December, stated that Hua Sheng was “clearly sick,” but was still exposed to the public.
Some web users pointed out the delay in the announcement of the pandas’ deaths, which came almost a month later, hinting that the zoo may have been trying to cover up its wrongdoings.
In the zoo’s defense, employee Ni Li explained that they did not issue an announcement earlier since they were still investigating the incident.
“Our animal keepers are professional and took good care of them, and the raising procedures were strictly based on common practice, but raising giant pandas is very difficult,” she was quoted as saying.
The park currently has five giant pandas, which includes twins born last year.