Taipei Zoo seeks correction on panda prank story

April 3rd, 2009 - 6:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Taipei, April 3 (DPA) A furious Taipei Zoo Friday demanded that a newspaper run a correction over an April Fool’s Day prank that claimed two pandas from China were disguised forest bears.
“Using their professional knowledge to write this kind of news, it is not funny at all,” zoo spokesman Jason King said.

His comment came after the English-language Taipei Times reported Wednesday that a zoo official recently discovered the two pandas were in fact Wenzhou brown forest bears that had been dyed to create the panda’s distinctive black and white markings.

The story said the official became suspicious when the pandas began to spend almost all of their waking hours having sex as pandas are known for their low libidos.

King said the zoo was flooded with phone calls from as far afield as Britain, Japan and Canada whose callers asked if the pandas were forest bears in disguise.

“This is very annoying, and we have asked the paper to run a correction Friday to clarify,” King said.

The paper, however, said it had added “Happy April Fool’s Day” alongside the story on its website.

The pair of pandas, an endangered species found only in central and southwestern China, were sent to Taiwan late last year as a goodwill gesture from China as a result of warming cross-strait relations.

The two sides split at the end of a civil war in 1949. Their relations have been greatly improved since China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May.

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