This decision was made after the news that several tigers and lions had contracted coronavirus in New York Zoo.
The Chinese Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu Province has checked all its pets for coronavirus. The keepers were very nervous when they learned that tigers and lions from the Bronx Zoo had picked up the infection and decided to be proactive. Before the bears could develop symptoms. That’s what the Daily Mail writes about.
Zhang Zhihe, director of the center, noted that all pandas were tested and all tests gave a negative result. But the fears were justified.
“Pandas suffer from many diseases that both humans and animals can catch,” Zhang said. The breeding centre is now closed to the public and all workers are thoroughly tested before being allowed to see the animals.
The center also made a video to encourage patients with coronavirus. And they organized a broadcast of the panda aviaries.
“We know that pandas have therapeutic powers. We hope that their pretty appearance will cheer up the patients,” Zhang said. Zhang said that after the center learned that one of the patients in Wuhan, where the first coronavirus outbreak was recorded, wanted to go to Chengdu to see the pandas more than anything else after the quarantine, the workers specifically filmed funny moments with bears and made a documentary for the patient.
The panda population in Chengdu will increase soon. Two pandas will return from Canada three years earlier, because the zoo has had problems supplying fresh bamboo, the main food of these animals. Ear Shun and Da Mao lived in Toronto Zoo for five years and became local celebrities.
Now there are 1864 giant pandas living in the wild, with 548 more living in zoos around the world and in breeding centres.