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Giant panda passes syringe through digestive tract

By
Ben Hooper
The needle passed by giant panda Yuan Zai at the Taipei Zoo. CCTV America/YouTube video screenshot
The needle passed by giant panda Yuan Zai at the Taipei Zoo. CCTV America/YouTube video screenshot

TAIPEI, Taiwan, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Officials at a Taiwanese zoo said they had a scare when a giant panda swallowed a hypodermic needle, but the object came out the other end safely.

The Taipei Zoo said a 2-year-old panda named Yuan Zai swallowed the syringe that was in her arm while zookeepers were taking a routine blood sample.

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Handlers were unable to wrestle the syringe and nearly 1-inch needle out of the panda's mouth before she swallowed, so she was sedated and taken to an animal hospital.

Veterinarians said X-ray images confirmed the needle was traveling through the panda's digestive tract and hadn't caused any damage to her esophagus.

Zookeepers said giant pandas have fast-moving digestive tracts, so Yuan Zai passed the syringe and needle with her excrement before a surgery could be planned.

The panda is not believed to have been injured by the object's journey through her body.

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