Tainted milk sickens zoo animals

A young orangutan is checked for kidney stones at an animal hospital in Hangzhou, in east China's...
A young orangutan is checked for kidney stones at an animal hospital in Hangzhou, in east China's Zhejiang province. A lion cub and two baby orangutans from the Hangzhou Safari Park became ill after zoo workers fed them Sanlu brand milk powder for more than a year. Photo by AP.
China's milk crisis apparently has spread to animals.

Three baby animals at the Hangzhou Wild Animal Park near Shanghai have kidney stones after being fed milk powder for more than a year, said Zhang Xu, a veterinarian with the Hangzhou Zhangxu Animal Hospital.

The powder was made by the Sanlu Group Co -- 43 percent owned by New Zealand's Fonterra -- which is at the centre of the tainted milk crisis. The industrial chemical melamine has been found in a growing range of Chinese-made dairy products, and it has been blamed for sickening 53,000 infants in China and killing four.

The two orangutans and a lion cub were found with kidney stones Wednesday after concerned officials sent them to Zhang for a checkup.

"The milk powder crisis made us very worried about the health situation of baby animals," Ju Lijia, the animal park's public affairs manager, said by phone Wednesday. "We stopped feeding with Sanlu after it was found to be tainted." The orangutans and lion were the only ones found with kidney stones, Ju said.

Officials at the Beijing Zoo and zoos in the other major cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xian said they had no cases of animals sickened from milk powder.

An official at the world's most famous panda reserve, the Wolong Nature Reserve, said the baby pandas there are not fed on milk made from formula.



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