Taiwanese netizens are incredulous at reports that the Taipei Zoo plans to gift China with another pair of Formosan serows following the death of a serow from a previous pair.
Netizens said the move was “sending another pair to their deaths.”
On Friday last week, serow Hsi Yangyang (喜羊羊) died of heart failure, aged 8 years and six months. The animal was part of a gift exchange in 2008 between China and Taiwan of endangered native animals and plants.
China gave Taiwan a pair of pandas called Tuan Tuan (團團) and Yuan Yuan (圓圓), which have since given birth to cub Yuan Zai (圓仔), and 17 dove tree saplings.
Taiwan presented China with the pair of Formosan serows, Hsi Yangyang and Le Yangyang (樂羊羊), and a pair of Taiwanese sika deer named Fanhsing (繁星) and Diandian (點點).
Netizens also questioned the zoo’s lack of compensation plans for the death of the serow because of China’s compensation practices for panda deaths.
However, zoo spokesman Chao Ming-chieh (趙明杰) said that China’s compensation would normally only apply when countries “rent” pandas for exhibition, paying China a US$1 million “conservation donation.” In this situation, if a panda died because of human error, there would be a clause under which China could ask for reparations, Chao said.
However, as Taiwan and China had gifted each other the animals, there were no such clauses in place, he said.
Chao said the zoo would send professionals to China to investigate the goats’ habitat and feed, adding that it would only send the animals if the facilities met standards.
He added that China may conduct an autopsy on Hsi Yangyang.
When Hsi Yangyang first arrived in China, an indoor greenhouse with underground heating had been made in Liugongdao Forest Park in Weihai City, Shandong Province, for the occasion, he said.
Chao said even with the chilly temperature in the past few days — which had been as low as 3?C to 9?C — Hsi Yangyang would have been able to cope.
The serows’ natural habitat ranges from flatlands to an altitude of 3,000m, he said.