Twenty-three-year-old Shu Lan at the airport in the northwestern city of Lanzhou yesterday, before flying back to her hometown breeding center in Sichuan Province due to her poor health. - Xinhua
A 23-year-old Giant panda left the northwest city of Lanzhou yesterday to return to her hometown in Sichuan Province due to health concerns.
The giant panda, named Shu Lan, flew from Lanzhou City to the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Chengdu City on a China Eastern Airlines flight last night, accompanied by her breeder and vet.
The Lanzhou zoo held a farewell party for Shu Lan yesterday morning. Many locals came to say goodbye.
A man in his 70s traveled more than 10 kilometers to the zoo to see Shu Lan.
“I visit the zoo seven to eight times every month. And every time I’m here, I come to see Shu Lan,” said Wang.
He said he hopes she will become healthier and return to Lanzhou soon.
Photos of her with an injured back and foaming at the mouth went viral in October and February, arousing public concern.
Experts said Shu Lan is in normal health, but concluded that she has shown some symptoms of aging, such as weight loss.
Her age is equivalent to about 70 human years.
The panda habitat at the zoo in Lanzhou was built in 1976 and is too antiquated to accommodate Shu Lan.
Therefore, experts suggested sending Shu Lan to the center for Giant Panda in Sichuan for the sake of her health.
Shu Lan was born in 1994 in Sichuan’s Chengdu City and moved to Lanzhou in 1996. She went back to Sichuan to live between 1999 and 2016 for research and breeding.
She gave birth to two babies, but one of them died, according to the zoo.
A national survey released in February 2015 showed that as of the end of 2013, China had 1,864 wild pandas and 375 others living in captivity.