China dispatched a team of experts to Thailand after 19-year-old Chuang Chuang died at the Chiang Mai Zoo on Sept. 16. Pandas can live up to 30 years in captivity. The panda had been living in an air-conditioned enclosure with female Lin Hui.
AFP/Alastair Pike
Locsin turns down China panda offer
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has declined a Chinese offer of a panda for the Philippines, saying the country cannot let another animal starve to death.

“Why I politely dismissed an offer to give us one. We can’t starve another animal to death in a dead zoo. We’re just no good at this,” Locsin said in a tweet yesterday. He did not specify who made the offer or when.

The secretary was reacting to an Agence France-Presse report about a panda whose sudden death in Thailand due to heart attack sparked outrage in China last month.

China dispatched a team of experts to Thailand after 19-year-old Chuang Chuang died at the Chiang Mai Zoo on Sept. 16. Pandas can live up to 30 years in captivity. The panda had been living in an air-conditioned enclosure with female Lin Hui.

The pair were on loan from the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu as part of Beijing’s “panda diplomacy” and were supposed to be returned in 2023. China reportedly first used panda diplomacy in the 1950s. The policy involves gifting pandas or loaning them to nations where China’s interests need further boost.

Pandas also play a crucial role in China’s bamboo forests conservation by spreading seeds and helping vegetation to grow.

They are a national symbol of China, generating significant economic benefits for local communities through ecotourism and other activities.

 

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