Taipei City Zoo yesterday laid claim to a two-month old Formosan black bear born in Kaohsiung's Shoushan Zoo after several Kaohsiung City councilors launched a campaign to keep the cub in their city.
Last July the two zoos set up a Formosan black bear breeding program to help prevent inbreeding and diversify the genetic line. The cub was born in March, the offspring of a male bear from Taipei City Zoo and a female bear from Shoushan.
Several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) city councilors urged Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) to take steps to keep the cub at Shoushan, criticizing the city government for signing a partial contract on Monday to return the cub.
“Don’t Kaohsiung kids have the right to see the black bear?” the lawmakers said.
Taipei City Zoo director Jason Yeh (葉傑生) said yesterday that the contract between the zoos stated that the cub would be returned to Taipei in about a year.
“We and Shoushan Zoo cooperated in the breeding program to protect Formosan black bears and give them a better environment,” Yeh said at Taipei City Hall.
“The Taipei City Zoo is not snatching the cub away from Kaohsiung residents,” he said.
Yeh said Shoushan Zoo also sent a male black bear to Taipei to mate with a female bear, and any baby bear produced from that union would be sent to Kaohsiung.
Shoushan Zoo issued a written statement echoing Yeh’s remarks, and saying that it had agreed to send the cub to Taipei partly because its display area for Formosan black bear was already fully occupied with six bears.
Shoushan said it has received many animals from the Taipei City Zoo over the years through exchange programs, such as black swans and antelopes, and would continue to do so to add more variety to its facilities.
Several DPP Taipei City councilors suggested that the Taipei City Government consider cooperating with its Kaohsiung counterpart to give residents in both cities the chance to see the cub.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) promised to consider the possibility of sending the cub and its father to Kaohsiung for display.