Dan Dan dies in accident
An endangered crane that Taiwan had sent to South Korea last year for rehabilitation and release into the wild died on Wednesday after breaking its left wing while flying around a park in Seoul. The red-crowned crane, dubbed “Dan Dan” (丹丹), was injured at Hsinchu Air Force Base in September 2004 and taken to Taipei Zoo for treatment. The bird was flown to South Korea last year after failed attempts to send it back to China. Dan Dan died on Wednesday after clashing with other birds and hurting its left wing. Chang Chih-hua (張志華), director of Taipei Zoo’s veterinary center, yesterday expressed regret over the incident. “All the vets who had taken care of Dan Dan were shocked over the news. We feel so sad. South Korea planned to release Dan Dan into the wild in November. The accident just happened so suddenly,” Chang said. He said Dan Dan had adopted to the new environment in Seoul very well.
Stray animals get help
National Taiwan University Hospital’s animal hospital will begin to offer free medical services for strays, the university said yesterday. The hospital, located in Sijhih (汐止), Taipei County, will primarily help animal rights groups neuter or spay and vaccinate strays against rabies, the university said. Those who plan to bring a stray animal to be neutered or spayed should contact the hospital first, the university said. Those who drop off strays at the hospital will be asked to leave their contact information and pick up the animals within a given period of time, the university said, adding that the facility would not serve as an animal shelter.
Suspected smugglers caught
The Taichung County Police Station said yesterday it had detained nine people on suspicion of smuggling and selling banned or restricted pesticides from China to local pesticide distributors and stores. A 49-year-old suspect surnamed Kao and eight others were arrested in raids earlier in the day. In a joint crackdown, eight prosecutors, more than 200 law enforcement agents and officials from the Council of Agriculture searched 29 locations, including Kao’s house and offices. They raided sites in Taichung, Yunlin, Chiayi, Taitung and Pingtung, where it was suspected that the smuggling ring was manufacturing, storing and selling the products. The nine suspects were charged with smuggling illegal pesticides or raw materials from China by boat to Taiwan proper via Kinmen since 2007. They are also suspected of manufacturing illegal pesticides in five townships in Taichung County and selling them to stores across the country.
Man confesses to murder
A school-bus driver turned himself in to police yesterday, claiming to be the perpetrator of a murder in Kaohsiung. The crime made headlines on Wednesday when a cleaning lady found a female body in a plastic trash bag under a mattress in a hotel room. Investigators said the victim and Yang Kuo-ching (楊國卿), 36, had checked into the motel on Feb. 4. After being visited by police on Wednesday, Yang turned himself in later in the afternoon and told the police that the victim had been his girlfriend and one of his daily passengers. He said they had checked into the motel on Feb 4 and later argued over financial issues. He told the police that he strangled Yang, then hid her body in a hollow space under the mattress.