An MRI scan has revealed one of the giant pandas in Taiwan’s Taipei Zoo has a life-threatening brain disease.
18-year-old Tuan Tuan is one of the two pandas China gifted to Taiwan in 2008 under the so-called “panda diplomacy”.
Tuan Tuan had started to lose his appetite and had even suffered a three minute seizure, which prompted zookeepers to investigate his condition.
An MRI scan on Sep. 18 showed Tuan Tuan had encephalomalacia, a brain disease that softens and causes the loss of brain tissue, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.
Giant pandas live around 15 to 20 years, so Tuan Tuan’s condition could be serious, according to zookeepers.
Experts are still conducting more tests to decide the best path of treatment.
“We will wait for the results of a fluid analysis before deciding what direction to take with follow-up treatment,” zoo veterinarian Cheng Chiu-hung said, according to Taipei Times.
Taiwan authorities have also notified the Giant Panda Protection Research Center in China, so Chinese experts could provide support on the matter.
News of Tuan Tuan’s illness sparked an outpouring of sadness and support on social media.
“Tuan Tuan jia you. So heartbreaking to see. Jia you to the medical staff.”
“Tuan Tuan jia you! Get better soon.”
“This is so sad to see. I hope Tuan Tuan recovers soon and can stay with us longer!”
“Tuan Tuan we love you! Get better soon!”