Quan Quan the Giant Panda Gassed to Death at China Zoo
Quan Quan the Giant Panda Killed at Jinan Zoo
Quan Quan, a 21-year-old giant panda kept at China's Jinan Zoo, died in the hospital after getting gassed with carbon monoxide and chlorine.
The mixture of gases caused Quan Quan's lungs to collapse. The gas ended up in Quan Quan's living area because the zoo shares a ventilation system with a former air raid shelter, which the gas was meant to disinfect.
The air raid shelter had been rented by a mushroom grower, who was cleaning it out. However, holes had been drilled between the shelter and the pen in which Quan Quan lived, in order to ventilate the panda's living space. The gas made its way from the air raid shelter to the panda enclosure through those ventilation holes.
Initial reports, though, said that Quan Quan had been directly placed in the gas-filled shelter due to the excessive heat in her normal pen.
Giant pandas are critically endangered, with roughly 1,000 believed to live in the wild. There are currently around 250 giant pandas in captivity.
Quan Quan lived at the Wolong panda breeding center in Sichuan, and was on loan to the Jinan Zoo.
Zoo officials say that the gases had come through ventilation pipes that the zoo shared with the raid shelter. Activists are already pointing to Quan Quan's death as another indication of how zoos should improve their treatment of animals in captivity.
A 48-year-old man was being questioned over the death by police, reports said.
Jinan Zoo is getting a reputation for killing its pandas:
Quan Quan is the second panda to die at the zoon in Jinan, about 200 miles south of Beijing. In 2008, Tao Tao, also on loan to the facility, died of brain disease at the age of 36. Pandas' usual life expectancy is 30 to 40 years.