A man has been arrested after a panda died from inhaling poisonous fumes
in its enclosure at a Chinese zoo.
Zookeepers discovered Quan Quan, a 21-year-old female bear, looking ill on
Thursday but, after trying for hours to revive her, she died.
An investigation found she was killed by toxic fumes that seeped into her
enclosure through an air-vent connected to an old air-raid shelter next to
the Shandong zoo.
It transpired a mushroom grower had hired the shelter to breed the fungus
and brought in fumigators to disinfect it.
But, in 1995, a vent had been drilled to help cool the panda enclosure in
summer and this allowed the disinfectant to waft into Quan Quan's area.
A 48-year-old man was being questioned over the death by police, reports
The panda was a star attraction at Jinan Zoo since she arrived on loan from
China's famed Wolong Giant Panda Research Centre in Sichuan, in September
She was hailed as a heroic mother for giving birth to seven cubs in her lifetime,
a significant number for a species whose low sex drive has frustrated breeding
Reports of animals dying from starvation or poor conditions in Chinese zoos
But the death of a panda is of greater concern because the endangered animals
are beloved national symbols.
There are only 1,590 remaining in the wild, mostly in Sichuan, Shaanxi and
Another 290 are in captive-bred programmes worldwide, mainly in China.