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Baby Panda Was Suffocated to Death, Missing 2 Rescue Opportunities

On the evening of April 10th, the official Weibo of the China Giant Panda Conservation Research Center released a message: On that day, the giant panda “Luluzai” (born August 10, 2019, female) of Shenshuping Base of the Panda Center was wrapped by Fengrong hanging ball, choking to death.

Luluzai, suffocated to death
Luluzai, suffocated to death

At about two o’clock in the morning on the 9th, “Luluzai” crawled alone on the outdoor sports ground of the Kindergarten of Shenshuping Base to play on a wooden frame with hanging ball toys, and began to struggle, the cub stopped struggling and died after a few minutes. Because the incident occurred late at night, and the “Luluzai” winding position and the rest position of the wooden frame were difficult to distinguish, the night shift patrol personnel failed to find anomalies.

Luluzai, suffocated to death
Luluzai, suffocated to death

Two rescue opportunities were missed:

Once in the early morning, the night shift patrol inspected and found nothing. The report said: Because the incident occurred late at night, and the winding position of the “Luluzai” and the rest position of the wooden frame were not easy to distinguish, the night patrol personnel failed to find anomalies.

The second time was early in the morning, after the kindergarten keepers at the management office of Shenshuping Base visited the kindergarten breeding site, they first inspected the cubs in the playground from a distance, and saw that most of the panda babies were resting. Since the dead cub turned away from the visiting area, its face can’t be seen clearly. Looking at it from a distance is like hanging on a wooden frame to rest, so the chance of rescue again is missed.


In addition, some netizens reported that the incident occurred around two o’clock in the morning and was still on the air. Some netizens who watched the live broadcast found Luluzai hung there and didn’t move, no one answered the call to Giant Panda Conservation Research Center. In full view, a panda cub was hanged like this, and hung for 7 hours.

Panda, 7 hours of live death
Panda, 7 hours of live death

It wasn’t until 9 o’clock that the breeder entered the playground, and after contact and observation, it was discovered that “Luluzai” was wrapped around the neck and forelimb with a rope of a hanging ball toy. It was initially judged to be dead, and the veterinarian was notified immediately. Luluzai has been dead for some time, collected samples for inspection.

Screenshot of the official Weibo of China Panda Conservation Research Center
Screenshot of the official Weibo of China Panda Conservation Research Center

Sichuan Shenshuping Base published Weibo: We are deeply saddened by the departure of the giant panda Luluzai. This incident also made us fully realize that we still have some omissions in the safety management of the giant panda. We will draw lessons from this incident, further strengthen the safety inspection and evaluation of the environmentally-rich items placed by young giant pandas, and thoroughly investigate hidden safety hazards in the park; at the same time, strengthen night patrols to avoid such incidents.

It is reported that the Shenshuping Base in Sichuan implements a centralized panda kindergarten system, and young pandas are separated from their mother pandas for artificial rearing when they are less than half a year old because at this time the mother pandas are still in the lactation period, which is really “weaning in advance”.

Due to this incident, some netizens made suggestions:

  1. Stop the policy of forcing mother-child separation at half-year-old, so that mother panda can protect her.
  2. If the supervisor on duty is unable to ensure 24-hour care, at least take the cub back to the easy-to-observe room at night.
  3. Toys for Feng Rong are required, but they must be age-appropriate and comprehensively assess safety risks. Adult pandas who live alone have high acceptance of Feng Rong, but the best Feng Rong for cub is still its mother.
  4. Make sure the hotline is open 24h.

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Nancy Huang
I'm a journalist in Shenzhen, China. I have been working in several news agencies in China since 2008.


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