News On Japan

Tan Tan Goes to Panda Heaven

KOBE, Apr 02 (News On Japan) - Kobe's Oji Zoo has announced the death of 'Tan Tan', a female giant panda that had been a favorite among visitors for over 20 years.

According to the zoo, Tan Tan, the oldest giant panda in Japan, aged 28, which is approximately equivalent to 100 human years, died on Sunday night.

Born in 1995 at a panda breeding center in Sichuan Province, China, Tan Tan was loaned to the Kobe Municipal Oji Zoo in Nada Ward at the age of four in 2000. Her arrival was a symbol of hope and recovery following the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Tan Tan quickly became popular for her endearing behavior, such as energetically eating bamboo and lounging around.

Her loan period was extended twice, and she was scheduled to be returned to China in July 2020. However, due to the cancellation of direct flights to the return destination caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, she remained at the zoo. In 2021, a heart condition was discovered, and although she had been under treatment and not on public display, her appetite and activity levels had declined since October last year, indicating a deterioration in her physical functions. From the 13th of last month, she was mostly in a sleeping state, and despite round-the-clock monitoring by the zookeepers, Tan Tan was found in a prone position with weak breathing on the night of the 31st. Efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful, and she passed away approximately two hours later.

Yujiro Kako, the director of Oji Zoo, expressed his gratitude: "She came to us soon after the earthquake and gave courage to the citizens of Kobe, witnessing our city's recovery. She was like the sun, always bringing a smile to those who saw or met her. I can only say thank you."

The zoo plans to set up a floral tribute stand from the 2nd and is considering holding a farewell event to honor Tan Tan's memory.

Source: NHK


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