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Taipei mayor expresses shock at Kaohsiung Zoo's bear death

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday expressed his regret and shock over the death of Kaohsiung Shoushan Zoo's Formosan black bear Hsiao Shan, who had been a gift to the zoo from Taipei City.

Hsiao Shan died after the zoo's other male black bear Po Bi crashed through a barrier separating the two and mauled him, causing deep wounds in the 30-year-old bear. Po Bi is 20 years Hsiao Shan's junior and easily overpowered the smaller bear in the attack. Shoushan Zoo Director Chang Po-yu also expressed his regrets, and temporarily called for the black bear display to close. The bear display will be reopened before Chinese New Year, which falls at the end of January.

The attack happened on Dec. 20.

Stating that two males cannot be kept peacefully in the same enclosure, Chang said that the zoo had erected the barrier in the mistaken belief that it was strong enough to keep Po Bi and Hsiao Shan from attacking each other. The incident was also witnessed by zoo visitors, one of whom posted a video of the attack on YouTube.

Saying that he felt deep regret upon hearing about the incident right after he returned from his trip to the Republic of Paraguay, Hau called for the Taipei Zoo to exercise stricter control over its Formosan black bears “in order to prevent similar tragedies from happening.”

Hau added that he felt Shoushan Zoo should have notified Taipei Zoo right after the attack occurred to announce the news and follow-up safety measures, whereas the zoo waited until a month after the incident to relay the news to Taipei.

The Taipei Zoo personnel noted that it had sent a team to Kaohsiung in the hopes of understanding the incident and that further discussions will be needed after an autopsy is conducted.

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