Fu Bao the Panda Faces Alleged Abuse After Returning to China: Concerns and Controversies

After beloved panda Fu Bao returned to China from South Korea, fans have raised concerns about her well-being, citing allegations of abuse and poor conditions. Videos showing Fu Bao's health issues have sparked protests and a global petition to ensure her safety

Alleged abuse of Fu Bao after returning to China

Recently, concerns have been raised about the health and alleged abuse of giant panda Fu Bao since her return to China. Fu Bao is living at the Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda after completing her quarantine. A recently released video shows Fu Bao grasping the cage bars and taking an apple from a keeper and wandering around her enclosure.

Fu Bao in a cage grasping its bars

However, fans who watched the video claim to have observed convulsions in Fu Bao's neck while he was taking food, expressing their concerns. They also assert that the local enclosure is unsuitable for Fu Bao and that he is being kept in worse conditions than he was in Korea.

There was a truck protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Jung-gu, Seoul, demanding an explanation for the abuse allegations against Fu Bao. Netizens claim that Fu Bao is being abused in China, suggesting that outsiders might have been entering the non-exhibition area to touch Fu Bao, feed him, and take pictures with him.

In response, the center stated that there is no evidence of outsiders touching or feeding Fu Bao.

Chinese state media CCTV reported that Fu Bao is adapting well and living normally, denying the abuse allegations. They explained that the special enclosures at the breeding center have communication windows allowing pandas to interact with each other through sounds and smells.

On the 20th, the center posted a statement on Weibo titled "Refuting Rumors," actively addressing the allegations. Despite this, it seems unlikely that the concerns of Korean fans will be easily alleviated. Fans have launched a petition campaign to "Save Fu Bao" and have been protesting with trucks bearing banners demanding an explanation for the abuse allegations in front of the Chinese Embassy in Myeongdong, Seoul.

We hope that by monitoring Fu Bao's situation, fans' concerns can be alleviated. Continuous attention and effort are needed to ensure Fu Bao's health and safety.

China's Panda Diplomacy

China uses giant pandas as diplomatic tools to strengthen relations with other countries. Currently, there are about 50 pandas on loan to 30 zoos overseas. However, simply paying a fee does not guarantee a panda loan; it also depends on diplomatic relations, the zoo's environment, reputation, and care capabilities.

🔎 Panda Loan Conditions:

✔ Rental Fee: The annual rental fee for a panda is $600,000. This fee is used for panda protection and research.

✔ Rental Conditions: Even if pandas are born in the zoos of the renting country, they are considered the property of China. If the rental fee is not paid, they must be returned immediately.

✔ Special Cases: Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong, considered part of China, can rent pandas for free and without a return obligation, effectively allowing indefinite loans.

🔎 Importance of Panda Diplomacy:

✔ Strengthening Diplomatic Relations: Pandas symbolize peace and friendship, and renting a panda signifies goodwill between countries.

✔ Increasing Zoo Revenue: Pandas attract many visitors, significantly increasing zoo revenue, making many zoos eager to rent pandas.

✔ Promoting Protection and Research: International cooperation plays a crucial role in promoting panda protection and research.

🔎 Historical Cases:

✔ USA: In 1972, China gifted pandas to the USA, marking an important step in normalizing bilateral relations.

✔ Japan: In 1972, China also gifted pandas to Japan, strengthening bilateral relations.

✔ Europe: Several European countries, including the UK, France, and Germany, have rented pandas, enhancing diplomatic ties.

🔎 Panda Protection and Legal Punishment:

✔ Severe Punishment for Poaching: In the past, panda poachers were sentenced to death. Currently, they face at least 10 years to life imprisonment, showing China's strong commitment to panda protection.

✔ Historical Use of Pandas: Although strictly protected today, pandas were once hunted for their meat, bones, skins, or used in traditional medicine.

🔎 Popular Panda at Everland Park in South Korea, Fu Bao:

Fu Bao, who gained great popularity at Everland, a park in South Korea, is the first offspring of Le Bao (father) and Ai Bao (mother), brought to Everland after Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to South Korea in 2014. Born on July 20, 2020, Fu Bao is the first panda born through natural breeding in South Korea and is known to have opened her eyes the fastest among recorded pandas. Fu Bao was even issued an honorary employee badge by Samsung C&T, making him the youngest employee in the company's history.

🔎 Fu Bao's Return to China:

According to China's panda ownership policy, Fu Bao, though born in Korea, is the property of the Chinese government. Therefore, Fu Bao was returned to China before reaching sexual maturity at the age of four. On April 3, 2024, Fu Bao left Everland's Panda World and went to China.

Many Korean and Chinese fans wished for Fu Bao to stay in Korea. While China has many pandas in its zoos, foreign zoos pay high rental and maintenance costs, thus treating pandas very well. Since Fu Bao received exceptional care in Korea, many fans were saddened by her return to China.

Fu Bao's Return to China Was Reported by Xinhua News on April 3, 2024.

🔎 Fu Bao's Popularity and Impact:

Fu Bao attracted many visitors to Everland with her cute appearance and remarkable records, significantly contributing to the popularity of Panda World. Fu Bao's presence played a crucial role in highlighting the importance of panda conservation.

🔎 Preparation for Return and Fans' Reactions:

Negotiations for Fu Bao's return to China began in August 2023, and many fans were saddened by the impending farewell. On December 12, 2023, China Central Television announced a collaboration with Everland to produce a video about the Bao family, which would continue to document Fu Bao's life after her return to China. On January 23, 2024, the date for Fu Bao's departure to China was set for early April. On February 19, 2024, it was announced that March 3 would be the last day Fu Bao would be publicly displayed. Fu Bao then underwent quarantine procedures in preparation for her journey to China.

On Fu Bao's last public display day, March 3, 2024, Everland's Panda World was crowded with visitors wanting to see him, and many fans shed tears of sadness after her departure.

Fu Bao's Conditions and Alleged Abuse:

1. Fu Bao Panda Feeding Experience 840 Yuan (about 115USD):

Screenshot from an app showing you that you can book a feeding experience for about 115 USD

A photo taken from footage of a Panda being fed

2. Noticeable fur color change in Fu Bao after meeting visitors:

Picture of Fu Bao the Panda showcasing loss of fur

Picture of Fu Bao the Panda showcasing loss of fur

3. A hole appeared in the middle of Fu Bao's forehead:

Picture of Fu Bao the Panda with a hole in the middle of her forehead

How can you contribute & help Fu Bao?

Practically, the best thing we can do for Fu Bao now is to participate in a global petition campaign, which you can find here: https://chng.it/QFbVMNj2SX - please sign the petition.

To help further, you can do it either monetarily or by spreading the news about Fu Bao further.

Please visit https://chng.it/QFbVMNj2SX and support the petition to make a change

Article was published in the reference to https://blog.naver.com/elyod19/223461923797, kind regards to https://blog.naver.com/elyod19 - please visit their page too.

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