Koala babies to debut
Three newborn koalas are expected to make their debut at Taipei Zoo three months from now after they were discovered in their mothers’ pouches, zoo officials said. Zookeepers found the joeys during an examination of the three female koalas on April 14, 35 days after they mated. The gestation period for koalas is about 35 days, after which newborn joeys crawl into their mothers’ pouches, where they nurse for up to six months. Zoo staff helped the adult koalas mate in March after seeing them climbing down from trees and walking backward, signs they were entering heat. With the news likely to draw crowds, zoo officials asked the public to keep the noise down around the koala enclosure so as not to disturb the mothers tending to the joeys.
Paper pandas ‘adopted’
More than 200 paper pandas from an exhibition held earlier this year have been purchased since they were put up for “adoption” on April 24 to raise funds for wildlife protection, organizers said yesterday. The paper pandas, along with about 80 paper Formosan black bears displayed in an exhibition in March, have found homes in Taiwan, according to the Taiwan Environmental Info Association. A total of 1,100 of the pandas and 100 bears were on offer in the project, which is aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues, it said, adding that there have been many inquiries about the program, which asks for a NT$6,000 donation for each panda, created by French papier-mache artist Paulo Grangeon. In a joint campaign with the Taipei City Government, Grangeon showcased 1,600 paper pandas to remind people that just 1,600 giant pandas remain in the wild. The free exhibition attracted more than 3 million visitors, the city government said.
Enterovirus cases reported
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Thursday reported the year’s first severe complications arising from enterovirus infection and urged better personal hygiene to prevent the spread of the disease. A nine-month-old girl has been confirmed infected with coxsackievirus A2, the centers said. Her condition has stabilized since she began showing symptoms of infection late last month. Coxsackie A is currently the dominant strain of enterovirus circulating around Taiwan, according to centers data, causing hand, foot and mouth disease, and skin rashes. Last year, a total of 12 cases of enterovirus infection with serious complications were confirmed, according to the data. The centers warned that infants and children under five are at an increased risk of infection and complications. Children showing symptoms such as a persistent fever, drowsiness, inactivity or continuous vomiting should be taken to a doctor to check for the virus, the centers advised.
Woman dies in car crash
A Taiwanese woman died in a car crash in Singapore on Thursday that also killed the driver and injured three other Taiwanese passengers. A 33-year-old Singaporean man was driving the car and the 29-year-old Taiwanese woman was sitting in the front of the vehicle when it lost control on the way to Changi Airport, Singaporean media reported. Singaporean police informed the Taipei Representative Office in Singapore of the incident, adding that the cause of the incident was not immediately clear. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Anne Kao (高安) said the ministry would contact the families of the four Taiwanese to provide assistance to the victims and the families.