Fu Bao Abuse Allegations Amid Panda Controversy

Fu Bao Abuse Allegations Amid Panda Controversy

Fu Bao: China Refutes Abuse Claims Of The South Korea Born Panda

Fu Bao Abuse Allegations Amid Panda Controversy

China Denies Fu Bao Abuse Allegations Amid Panda Controversy


The recent controversy surrounding the beloved panda, Fu Bao, has garnered significant international attention. South Korean fans have accused Chinese authorities of mistreating the panda since her return to China. However, the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda has firmly denied these allegations, asserting that Fu Bao has received proper care. This article delves into the details of the controversy, the responses from Chinese authorities, and the broader implications of this incident.


Fu Bao, meaning “lucky treasure,” is a giant panda born in South Korea in 2020. She is the first panda born in South Korea, making her a symbol of pride and joy for many in the country. Over 6,000 South Korean fans bid an emotional farewell to Fu Bao when she left for China in April 2024.

Allegations by South Korean Fans

  • Fur Loss: South Korean fans noticed that Fu Bao appeared to have lost fur on her back. They speculated this could be due to abuse or injury.
  • Head Dent: A small indentation on Fu Bao’s head was observed, leading to speculation that researchers were extracting panda body fluids.
  • Neck Marks: Marks on Fu Bao’s neck were thought to be from wearing a collar, which fans claimed was a sign of mistreatment.
Fu Bao Abuse Allegations Amid Panda Controversy

Chinese Authorities’ Response

The China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda refuted all allegations. Their responses included:

  • Fur Loss Explanation: According to the Centre, the fur loss was a natural occurrence, often seen in giant pandas due to seasonal changes. They released a video showing Fu Bao with a patch of fur on her neck that was shorter than the rest. Tests revealed no pathogens, and no abnormalities such as allergies or skin thickening were found.
  • Head Dent Clarification: The Centre explained that the small dent on Fu Bao’s head was due to her resting her head on a corner of her cage when sleeping. This posture created an indentation over time.
  • Neck Marks Explanation: The marks on Fu Bao’s neck were described as natural occurrences. These appear when Fu Bao walks with her head stretched forward and disappear when she changes her posture.

Detailed Examination of Fur Loss

Research from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding supports the Centre’s explanation. Fur loss in giant pandas can result from:

  • Pathogens: Bacteria or viruses causing skin conditions.
  • Endocrine Issues: Hormonal imbalances affecting skin and fur.
  • Environmental Factors: Changes in weather or habitat conditions.
  • Seasonal Changes: Normal shedding of fur depending on the time of year.

The research highlighted that without signs of redness, swelling, fever, skin lesions, or parasites, Fu Bao’s fur loss is most likely due to seasonal changes.

Historical Context: Le Bao’s Similar Case

The Centre also referred to a similar case involving Fu Bao’s father, Le Bao, who experienced fur loss above his hind legs while living in a South Korean zoo. South Korean zookeepers had consulted Chinese experts, who recommended:

  • Temperature and Humidity Control: Adjusting the environment to reduce stress on the panda’s skin.
  • Vitamin Supplements: Ensuring a balanced diet to support fur health.
  • Disease Monitoring: Regular health checks to prevent the spread of potential diseases.
  • Keeping the Affected Area Dry: Maintaining dryness to avoid skin infections.
Fu Bao Abuse Allegations Amid Panda Controversy

Broader Implications and Panda Diplomacy

This controversy arises amid strained relations between China and South Korea, exacerbated by:

  • Political Tensions: South Korea’s closer ties with the United States under President Yoon Suk-yeol.
  • Cultural Disputes: Ongoing debates between Chinese and South Korean netizens over the origins of cultural items like kimchi and traditional clothing.

Despite these tensions, “panda diplomacy” remains a key aspect of China’s international relations strategy. The recent announcement that China will send a pair of pandas to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., underscores this practice’s enduring significance.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper Treatment: The China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda asserts that Fu Bao has been treated properly since her return to China.
  • Seasonal Changes: Fur loss in giant pandas can be a natural, seasonal occurrence.
  • Continued Monitoring: The Centre continues to monitor Fu Bao’s health closely and has released her from quarantine after ensuring her well-being.

Quotes from Experts

  • Chinese Panda Researchers: “Most fur loss in giant pandas is simply due to seasonal changes, not abuse or injury.”
  • South Korean Zookeepers: “Consultation with Chinese experts helped us manage fur loss in pandas effectively.”

Tables and Visual Data

Fur LossNatural seasonal changes, no pathogens found
Head DentDue to sleeping posture
Neck MarksNatural marks from walking posture


Q: What caused Fu Bao’s fur loss? A: The fur loss is likely due to natural seasonal changes, not abuse or injury.

Q: What did the Centre say about the head dent? A: The dent is caused by Fu Bao resting her head on the cage corner when sleeping.

Q: Are the neck marks a sign of a collar? A: No, the marks naturally appear when Fu Bao walks with her head stretched forward.

Fu Bao Abuse Allegations Amid Panda Controversy


The controversy surrounding Fu Bao highlights the complexities of international animal diplomacy and the deep emotional connections people have with these iconic creatures. As the investigation continues, it is clear that both Chinese and South Korean authorities are committed to ensuring the well-being of these beloved pandas.

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