Toxoplasmosis, now found in Giant Panda

The Open Access journal Parasite just published the results on toxoplasmosis in Giant Panda.

giantpandapr3.003In February 2014, China’s Zhengzhou Zoo suffered the loss of a 7-year-old female panda named Jin Yi. The Giant Panda was infected with toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii, which infects virtually all warm-blooded animals (mammals and birds), including humans.

Hongyu Ma, Zedong Wang, Chengdong Wang, Caiwu Li, Feng Wei, and Quan Liu, six researchers from the Jilin Agricultural University in Changchun, the Military Veterinary Institute in Changchun and the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, Ya’an, China, have now published their analysis, based on immunological and molecular methods. They confirmed that Jin Yi died from acute gastroenteritis and respiratory symptoms caused by toxoplasmosis.

Jean-Lou Justine, Editor-in-Chief of Parasite says, “This first report of toxoplasmosis in the Giant Panda is a major finding as it is an additional example of the ubiquity of Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite famous for reports of its effects on the behavior of infected mice. To our knowledge, this is the first report of clinical toxoplasmosis in a Giant Panda.”

This paper published in Parasite is available in English with English, French and Chinese abstracts and free to read. Please follow this link,

Panda poop products

The Asia Times reports this morning that the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in China boasted a record 12 newborn animals in 2006, all of which survived.

The story notes that 12 captive pandas were born in all of China in 2005 and only nine in 2000.

But success breeds its own problems — too much poop.

Each panda generates an average of 20-30 kilograms of waste every day, largely consisting of undigested bamboo, which the breeding center is recycling into panda-poop paper, photo frames, and other uniquely crafted souvenirs.