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Concern rises as black eye patches of more Sichuan base pandas turn white

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Some giant pandas living in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Southwest China's Sichuan Province are suffering from a disease that turns their eye patch from black to white, as the official explanation of the cause of the disease remains undisclosed.

The base has consulted two Chengdu-based medical experts on the disease, but a report issued by the experts shows no conclusive diagnosis, Science and Technology Daily reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, the base confirmed that some giant pandas recently contracted partial depilation around the eyes.

The breeding base declined to provide further information when reached by the Global Times on Thursday, noting that "information was released on the base's website."

However, the website has posted no relevant announcement as of press time.

A human disease with similar symptoms is called Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease (VKH), characterized by hair, eyebrows and eyelashes turning white and grey, Luo Qingli, a ophthalmologist at Chengdu Huaxia Eye Hospital, was quoted by the Science and Technology Daily as saying.

"The sick pandas are not affected by VKH," Luo said, noting that the exact cause remains undisclosed.

Netizens raised concerns over the pandas' health while the report has gone viral. This is not the first time the giant pandas at the base have suffered from an eye disease.

A Sina Weibo user "tusansui" questioned the base's treatment of giant pandas, saying "there were reports about the disease several months ago, but why haven't the pandas been healed?" Another user "anyihhh" accused the base of not admitting that the pandas are affected by mites.

Ten giant pandas at the base suffered from mite infections around the eyes. As a result, the black patches around the affected pandas' eyes were partially white, the Chengdu Economic Daily reported in January 2018.

Global Times


Newspaper headline: Mystery disease in pandas raises concerns


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