Panda escapes from enclosure at Danish zoo; returned safely

Xing Er

COPENHAGEN: Humans are not the only ones tiring of confinement during the coronavirus pandemic – a panda escaped from his enclosure at Copenhagen Zoo on Monday.

Xing Er, a 6-year-old male panda – soon to be 7 – then took a tour of the zoo, which was closed at the time.

He was spotted on a surveillance video "leaving his enclosure, slipping under an electric fence", zoo spokesman Jacob Munkholm Hoeck told AFP.

The animal wandered around the zoo until an employee noticed it and called a security team.

"The veterinarian of the zoo anaesthetised the panda and he was brought back to the enclosure," Hoeck said.

"There he was given an antidote and woke up a couple of minutes later."

Xing Er was not harmed and there were no human injuries.

Bengt Holst, the zoo's chief scientist, said in a statement that security around the enclosure will be "carefully examined" to "make sure (it) doesn't happen again."

Xing Er and his female mate Mao Sun – who did not take part in his escape – arrived in Denmark in April 2019, on loan from the Chinese city of Chengdu.

They are a part of the "panda diplomacy" programme set up by China which consists of lending pandas in order to foster relations with trading partners.

This story was produced by AFP. For more information go to AFP.com.
© Agence France-Presse

First giant panda born in Netherlands

Wu Wen

Wu Wen, a giant panda loaned to a Dutch zoo by China, has given birth in a first for the Netherlands, Ouwehands animal park announced Saturday.

Mating took place in January and the cub, which belongs to Beijing just like the mother and father Xing Ya, was born on May 1.

"The mother and her cub are staying in the maternity den and are doing well," the zoo in the central city of Rhenen said in a statement said.

"This cub was born and conceived naturally," said Ouwehands owner Marcel Boekhoorn.

"Male or female? The cub's gender will remain a surprise for the time being," he added.

"The keepers are leaving Wu Wen and her cub alone. When the cub leaves the maternity den after a few months, we will be able to see what the gender is.

"When that happens, the little giant panda will be named," Boekhoorn said. The cub will go to China after four years to join the breeding programme.

The mother and father were loaned to the Netherlands in 2017 for 15 years.

Giant pandas are found only in the wild in China where their habitat is shrinking.

However since 2016 they are no longer considered in danger of extinction but remain "vulnerable".

This story was produced by AFP. For more information go to AFP.com.
© Agence France-Presse