China’s State Forestry Administration is investigating an alleged case of protected wildlife abuse after a panda at zoo in the country’s northwest was found with multiple wounds, a regional newspaper reports.
An internet user posted photos online of the panda, named Gungun, at the Lanzhou Wuquanshan City Zoo in Gansu province with a large wound on its back on Friday afternoon, the Lanzhou Morning Posts reports.
Later that evening, the authority granting wild animal permits to zoo operators posted a response in its microblog account saying it is looking into details of the alleged abuse.
“[The SFA] will also look into the health and welfare of this panda and other wild animals being stepped up,” according to a brief statement posted by the administration.
The photos showed Gungun in his pen at zoo with what looked like a large dark on its back. Gungun also appeared to be very underweight.
The person who posted the photo urged the administration to re-evaluate the zoo’s qualifications to keep a panda.
The Giant Panda Conservation and Research Centre in Sichuan said it was unable to verify from the photo whether the dark patch on Gungun’s back was an injury.
This is not the first time the zoo has been accused of panda abuse. Last January, a 11-year-old panda Lanzai appeared to be dirty and depressed. But the zoo explained that it was due to the panda’s preference to play in mud during the mating season.