Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) Administration Committee member Leong Kun Fong insisted Monday that the bureau had in no way been trying to cover up Sum Sum’s health condition, adding that the local team of giant panda vets had tried their best to save the giant panda.
Speaking to reporters at the Panda Pavilion in Coloane’s Seac Pai Van Park, Leong said that when Sum Sum lost her appetite, the vets at first thought it was due to the fact that she was in season, adding that when it was found that she had kidney problems late last month, they had been working with vets from Sichuan’s Chengdu panda base to treat her.
Sum Sum died on Sunday night.
“We had no intention of hiding [Sum Sum’s condition] from the public,” said Leong. “We thought it was a good thing for her to lose her appetite when she came into season, because it meant that she was ready to mate.”
He also said that usually only when the health of a giant panda has deteriorated seriously do the symptoms make an appearance.
Leong said the primary task was to establish Sum Sum’s exact cause of death, as vets from Chengdu and Hong Kong’s Ocean Park are currently conducting the autopsy. He reiterated that it will take two to three weeks before the results are known, adding that the bureau has no plans to embalm her.
Leong said it was too early to tell if Sum Sum was born with any kind of congenital illness. He also said that according to the Chengdu vets, it is rare for a panda to suffer from kidney problems.
Leong also said the Panda Pavilion was currently closed due to Sum Sum’s death but he hoped it could re-open soon. He also said that the facilities in the pavilion were up-to-date, while ruling out the possibility that her death was due to changes in the nearby environment.
Sum Sum, along with her male partner Hoi Hoi, came to Macau in December 2010 as a gift from the central government to mark the 10th anniversary of Macau’s return to Chinese administration.
The combined names of the two pandas mean “happiness” in Chinese. (macaunews/macaupost)