This is a recent internet topic that is spreading on the Chinese internet. It was posted less than two days ago on 2008 January 5. It is about a 25-year-old female panda named Yongba who is now living at the Shenzhen Wild Animal Park (their website currently does not work) and the heartbreak of a netizen who went to see her one afternoon.
Yongba is 25-years-old this year. One year for pandas is similar to about 3-4 years for humans, so Yongbu can be said to have entered her final ailing years. She came to settle at the Shenzhen Wild Animal Park in 2004. I am ashamed, I only started paying attention to our national treasures’ lives after the 5.12 [Sichuan] earthquake last year, having spent a little over two months in our Panda Homeland BBS discussion forum. In our crowd, there is a friend who said Yongba is in Shenzhen, and what more, has heard that her life is not very good there. It was because of this that I found time yesterday to go take a look at her. Upon seeing her, I truly could not stop myself from crying outside her cage.
The above is a picture of Yongba when she was young [13 years ago, in 1995], a very pretty panda. Tian Tian inherited her eye spots.
Yesterday noon, I went to the the Shenzhen Wild Animal Park [Zoo]. Right upon entering the Panda exhibit there were workers calling out: Buy panda souvenirs. Then there was a worker who followed me saying: We can let you take a picture with the panda. I asked him: “How?” He replied: “We can have the panda come to the outer cage. We will take the picture for you, 10 RMB each.”
At the time, I only replied: “Maybe later, let me first go look at the panda.” Upon seeing Yongba, she was in the inner cage, and the glass had not been cleaned in a long time. Yongba was banging on a metal door in the inner cage. A little while later, I saw a worker bring her a bowl of milk and a few sticks of bamboo. Yongba drank the milk and ate the bamboo. Finished eating, about 10-20 minutes later, Yongba again goes and knocks on that metal door.
I stayed at there [the zoo] an entire afternoon. Upon seeing there tourists come over, the workers tell them that they can take pictures with the panda, each time 10 RMB. There were indeed two sets of tourists who came over to take pictures.
When there are guests who want to take pictures, they [the workers] open the small door that lets Yongba go from her inner cage to the outer cage. Yongba will then come to the outer cage. I felt this is not something recent, but something that has been happening for a long time. Once Yongba arrives at the outer cage, workers stick a small piece of apple on a bamboo stick and give it to Yongba while the visitors sit in front of Yongba to take a picture. There is even a worker who uses a toy gun making noises to get Yongba to look at the camera lense. For each picture taken [with tourists], Yongba can get two small pieces of apple. After the picture is taken, Yongba immediately returns to her inner cage, never looking back, as if maintaining her last remaining bit of self-respect. Once Yongba returns to her inner cage, the little door connecting the inner cage and outer cage is shut. I stayed an entire afternoon, there were two sets of visitors who took pictures [with Yongba].
While I was at Yongba’s outer cage, I saw Yongba every 10-20 minutes would go knock on that big metal door where the first worker mentioned above brought her food, only then realizing that Yongba was asking for food from the workers.
I asked the worker: How much food do you give Yongba a day?
The worker replied: Each day, milk two times, “wowotou” three times [a type of steamed bread made of corn].
I asked further: Are nutrients added to the milk?
The worker replied: No.
Me: These bamboo, where are they shipped from?
Worker: They come from here, Shenzhen.
According to my observations all afternoon, Yongba is presently 25-years-old, and has very little capacity to eat bamboo leaves. After returning [home] last night, I asked [probably online] a panda nanny [someone who takes care of baby pandas?], and the panda nanny said: usually old pandas should not be drinking milk because it is bad for their bodies. A Fuzhou grandmother panda [old female panda] named Ba Si eats chopped bamboo leaves and two apples a day that have been shredded. Moreover, old pandas usually begin collecting water in their stomachs [swelling?], so Ba Si has been taking medication and other health products. But for Yongba, these are luxuries. Each day, Yongba can only eat two bowls of milk, three “wo wo tou” [a small cone-shaped steamed bread made of corn], can only get apples by taking pictures with tourists, and each time only two small pieces. Yongba does not get any medicine or health products. Perhaps a 25-year-old panda is already of no more use or value in many people’s eyes. When she was young, she made a huge contribution to the panda population by breeding a circle of pandas. Her sons, Tian Tian and Long Fei (now at Fuzhou Panda World), daughter Xi Xi (the giant panda that was lost in the 5.12 [Sichuan] earthquake and later found), Fei Fei. Amongst the Olympic pandas, Mei Qiao and Feng Yi were both Yongba’s grandchildren. Now hat she is old, unable to give birth anymore, she had no choice but to come to Shenzhen Wild Animal Park to spend her old years Can it be that we cannot give Yongba a little respect and some concern?
This is a recent picture of Yongba, standing where she takes pictures with tourists. Her energy is very different compared to other pandas her age, Dong Dong and Ming Ming, and Ba Si who is even older than her. Yongba looks truly like an old lady.
Workers stick a small piece of apple on a bamboo stick to give her, while tourists take pictures in front of her. Everyoen can see Yongba’s four limbs are all very emaciated, but her stomach is very big. Old pandas usually all have ascites. However, from the coversations I had with the workers, Shenzhen Wild Animal Park do not give Yongba regular medical check-ups, and have no considerations with regard to food. While I was there for the entire afternoon, Yongba only defecated twice, the feces amout was very little, and it was obvious that it took her a lot of effort to defecate. Because Shenzhen’s climate is humid, it even easy for humans to develop constipation. In this aspect, Shenzhen Wild Animal Park also have not given any special care [to Yongba].
This picture is particularly obvious that Yongba’s body size is very small, similar to a 2 to 3-year-old pre-adolescent panda’s body size, but her abdomen is very large. Usually old pandas will all have ascites. Because Yongba generally always stays in the inner cage and the inner cage’s glass is reflective, the picture is very unclear.
Every 10-20 minutes, Yongba will go beat on this metal door. The workers deliver her meals through this metal door. is where the workers give her food on the metal door. According to the amount of food the workers said they give Yongba when I asked, I do not think Yongba has enough to eat.
When there are tourists willing to pay 10 RMB for a picture, workers will put Yongba in the outer cage. The tourist will sit on this threshold with Yongba behind them. The person holding the long stick is a worker.
After taking the picture with the tourist, Yongba immediately returns to her inner cage and the little door between the inner cage and outer cage is immediately closed. Looking at the words “Giant Panda is precious” painted on the fake stone, I feel it is a kind of ridicule.
Unbearably, I could only watch Yongba through the glass. This inner cage is also where Yongba sleeps at night. There for an entire afternoon, Yongba basically did not sleep. Maybe she remembers she has the task of taking pictures, and that each time she can get two small pieces of apply. Usually old pandas should spend most of their days sleeping, just like how people are always complaining that when they go to see pandas, the pandas are always sleeping. Actually, people should not complain, them being able to sleep is a good thing. Watching Yongba, I felt really awful in my heart.
Yongba, are you resentful? Do you resent the people who sent you here to Shenzhen Wild Animal Park, resent the people who take care of you at Shenzhen Wild Animal Park? Actually, we should not say “take care,” we should say the people who are still trying to squeeze some profit off your body. Do you miss your children? Tian Tian is living very well in America, and gave you a very beautiful and cute grandson called Taishan. The Americans like their family of three very much. Your daughter Xi Xi and Fei Fei are both very pretty, both inheriting your good looks. For the 8 Olympic pandas, your two grandchildren Mei Xi and Feng Yi were both chosen and are still in Beijing right now. Mei Xi is very beautiful and Feng Yi’s disposition is very good, often smiling at people. Your little son, Long Fei, is currently in Fuzhou. You can rest easy, Fuzhou Panda World all treat pandas very well.
This is a picture I took when I when I went to Guangzhou Xiangjiang Safari Park to see old grandmother Ming Ming last year in November. Ming Ming is older than Yongba by 5 years, but Ming Ming’s energy is very good. She is drinking the zoo’s specially prepared drink.
This is a picture of old grandmother Ming Ming having her drink. You can see that Ming Ming’s energy is very good and Xiangjiang Safari Park takes very good care of her.
After finishing drinking, old lady Ming Ming rests happily lying on her back with her four legs sticking up towards the sky. Seeing this kind of circumstances, it really makes people feel relaxed [unworried].
Comments from Tianya:
Can it be that the zoo is so poor that it cannot afford to give the national treasure [panda] good food?
I strongly demand changing Yongba’s living environment, but what can be changed only relying on the internet’s power? The internet can human flesh search bad people, can punish, but is truly powerless in regards to the panda that lives there…I do not know how we can help it. What should we do?
I remember the Chengdu Research Base’s “gun gun” [a nickname for "pandas" that means "rolling things" like how pandas play], they were living very happily….
Every Spring Festival when I return home, I go visit “gun gun“…but no break this year, cannot go back, tears flowing…
Not allowed to abuse pandas!
Not allowed to abuse pandas!
Not allowed to abuse pandas!
Not allowed to abuse pandas!
This is the reality of the world. Even if it has the halo of national treasure, so what?
Moreover, every animal in every zoo all do not live well, right?
I do not know how we can help them.
I fucking really want to buy a train of apples and crash it onto the Shenzhen Zoo boss’s face! Are you fucking still human?
Reading this was unbearable, I cannot take it anymore. Tomorrow I will begin to make phone calls. Everyone work together, and hopefully we can give Yongba a more comfortable environment. It would be good if she can just get eat enough to eat. This outcome is truly not what she deserves.
This is the first Tianya topic I have replied to. Seeing this makes me want to cry. “Ding” this up, so Yongba’s life in her final years will not be this tragic!
Upon reading the part where she knocks on the metal door every 20 minutes to ask for food, I felt so terrible. Keeping “gun gun” hanging like this, is it because they are afraid she will go to sleep after she is full and they cannot make money using her to take pictures with? The zoo is too inhumane!
The more I look at Yongba, the more terrible I feel.
The “gun gun” I remember seeing, if they not playing, they were eating bamboo, eating “wotou,” eating fruit, or sleeping.
Last time I saw a show that said “gun gun” are animals that eat, then sleep, then eat~~~ now, in order to get such a small piece of apple, she forces herself to stay upright~~
So sad~~~ Yongba ~~ I will buy a pile of apples for you ~~~ you be good and go to sleep~~
It is old now and no longer has any value for exploitation so it is thrown to a side.
I do not think the zoo cannot afford to give her more food, but rather they hope it can hurry up and die because it no longer has any value for exploitation.
“Ding.” I also used to like going to the zoo but now that I go, I just feel awful when seeing them~~~
Poor Yongba. I just want to ask, of the people who take care of the animals in the zoo, just how many truly love them [the animals]? I even bang my head [against the ground] wanting to a job of taking care of pandas~~~
Another netizen in the comments for the Tianya post also posted this old story about baby tigers being abused also in a Guangzhou province zoo (probably the same one):
[The workers at] Shenzhen Wild Animal Park truly are not human!!!
Abuse of baby tigers in Guangzhou Zoo
Guangdong News. Yesterday (October 4) was “World Animal Day,” and this Guangzhou zoo was condemned by visitors for the abuse of baby tigers. Souvenir photo workers beating little tigers caused children to cry out and adults to feel regret.
The exposer Mr. Liu. said that the zoo’s souvenir photo department arranged for two tiger cubs to be on a 1 square meter wooden platform to take pictures with visitors. If the tiger cubs try to leave the wooden platform even a little, the workers will “disicipline” with various “tiger-control” methods they created. WIthin about half an hour, Mr. Liu witnessed six commonly used “actions”: using both hands to raise the tiger then slamming it down, using one hand to raise and slam, full-force pressing on the tigers head, using a bamboo whip to whip the tiger’s nose, seizing and lifting a tiger by the ear, and slapping the tiger’s face.
Mr. Liu was startled when seeing such casual and rough actions. As a zoo that protects animals and disseminates information, such behaviors should not be allowed to exist.
Strongly protest Shenzhen Wild Animal Park workers rough abusive of animals!!!
Ding [this topic] until something is done!!!
Seizing and lifting a tiger by the ear.
Anther Tianya member replying to this topic later posted more pictures of Yongba from 2008:
Let me post a few pictures of what the panda looked like when I when I went to Shenzhen Wild Animal Park in 2008 March.
Very thin, abdomen very large, body very dirty, walked around very slowly, very sad.
The giant panda in Shenzhen Wild Animal Park.
One more picture. Look at how skinny and bony she is. My heart really hurts.
This original poster updated the first post with information on who to call or contact to complain:
China Forestry Bureau Tel:
84238800 (114 investigation, switchboard to change)
010-84238568 (National Giant Panda Management Office)
Guangdong Forestry Bureau Tel:
China Wildlife Conservation Association
World Wide Fund for Nature
World Organization for Animal Protection Association
Today, the Tianya post was updated again with this news:
Newest progress report, related department taking action:
Investigation: Shenzhen Wild Animal Park asked to rectify and reform [from Sina]
Sichaun News Network January 7 report: Yesterday, Li Desheng told this reporter that China Giant Panda Research Center has received reports, and at present has already asked Shenzhen Wild Animal Park, where “Yongba” is currently living, for a written reply and a deadline for when the current problem will be fixed. Shenzhen Wild Animal Park is denying that “Yongba” is being “abused.” Li Desheng states that there may be a problem with a segment within Shenzhen Wild Animal Park but until the final investigation results come out, we cannot be sure that there is a situation of “abuse” towards “Yongba” in this zoo. Li Deshen says if netizen reports are truly so bad, China Giant Panda Research Center will consider taking “Yong ba” back to Wolong.
The Guangdong Province Foresty Department yesterday afternoon also stated that they are presently investigating this matter. (Chengdu Business Newspaper) (Original text from: Sichuan News Network, Journalist: Liu Wei & Guo Jingjing)
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