In the wake of an infectious disease outbreak affecting pandas in China, MBC has announced that the “Three Bears” segment of its variety program “Animals” has been canceled.
It was announced on February 9 that filming for “Three Bears,” which had been taking place at China’s Guangzhou Changlong Zoo, would be discontinued following the outbreak of canine distemper virus among the country’s panda population. It was recently revealed by the Wild Animal Conservation Research Center in Shaanxi, China, that the virus had affected some of the pandas being raised there.
In response, the Chinese government has dispatched 30 Panda specialists to Shaanxi, who are doing all they can to quarantine the virus. While canine distemper virus typically infects dogs and cats, authorities say the mortality rate for pandas who contract the virus is close to 90 percent. As it stands, three pandas have already succumbed to the virus while three more are currently undergoing treatment.
In conjunction with those efforts, authorities in China also served warning to the Changlong Zoo regarding the show’s filming there, saying, “Although it is not illegal for broadcasters to experience zoo work with trainee status, we must prohibit the contact of non-zoo personnel with the pandas.” Following this message and discussion with the zoo, MBC made the decision to temporarily halt filming of “Three Bears.” As such, the February 8 broadcast was the last to feature the “Three Bears” corner, while all future “Animals” broadcasts will feature the show’s “Puppy that Went to Kindergarten” and “OK Ranch” segments.