April Fool panda joke 'went too far', says Taipei mayor
This undated handout photograph released by the Taipei City Zoo on September 26, 2013 shows Yuan Yuan holding her baby panda at the Taipei City Zoo - by Taipei City Zoo
The story, published on the homepages of Next Media websites in Hong Kong and Taiwan, claimed that Yuan Yuan, mother of the first Taiwan-born panda cub Yuan Zai, was seriously ill.
"Taipei Zoo officials have been discussing euthanizing her... much like Copenhagen Zoo recently did with its giraffe Marius," the story said.
The story sparked immediate concern from local media, and saw the concerned Taipei government rush to check with zoo authorities whether it was true.
"All the three pandas have been in good shape," Taipei mayor Hua Lung-bin said, according to a spokesman. "We don't know the motive of the story. The joke has been taken too far."
To help pacify concerns, the zoo released photographs showing an energetic Yuan Yuan at the zoo.
Panda-mania swept Taiwan after her cub was delivered on July 6 last year.
Since her public debut on January 6, the cub, Yuan Zai, has attracted more than 1.6 million visitors, according to zoo authorities.
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