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Petition reemerges for return of Fu Bao the panda

May 30, 2024 - 17:22 By Shin Ji-hye
Fu Bao (Yonhap)

A petition calling for the return of a giant panda, which was sent to China after being born and raised in South Korea, has resurfaced here amid lingering concerns over the beloved bear’s wellbeing in China.

The petition, titled "Return Fu Bao to Korea” and submitted by a petitioner surnamed Koh, emerged Wednesday on the National Assembly’s online petition platform.

It has met the initial requirement of gathering 100 consents and now awaits a review for it to be made public, allowing everyone to view its content and sign on.

Fu Bao, a female panda born in 2020 to a panda couple lent by China, was sent to China in April as per the loan agreement between the two countries. She is now being kept at a breeding park inside the Shenshuping giant panda base in Wolong National Nature Reserve, China.

This is the second time a petition was made over Fu Bao, who was Korea’s first naturally-bred panda and has enjoyed massive popularity ever since she was born.

Early in April, a Seoul citizen proposed through the city government’s petition platform that the capital city push for another loan agreement with China and accommodate the star bear at the city-run Seoul Grand Park. The city government responded by saying the panda will "adapt well to the environment in China."

But whether Fu Bao is adapting well is a top concern for many local fans, with some raising suspicions over maltreatment.

Recently, unverified photos circulating on social media showed some dark spots around her neck, which worried local fans. Some even suggested they may be from being chained.

On Tuesday, China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda released video clips and photos of Fu Bao via its official social media account as proof of the panda’s sound conditions. It said the bear will be available for public viewing starting from June.