Taipei Zoo photo debunks rumors of beloved panda's death

This photo of giant panda Tuan Tuan was posted on Taipei Zoo's Facebook page.

(CNN)No need to worry about Tuan Tuan, OK?

That's the last word from the Taipei Zoo on rumors that its beloved panda had died.
China's state-run newspaper the Global Times reported Tuan Tuan died of canine distemper, a contagious disease that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs. It also can be found in wildlife, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
    The story raced through Chinese-language internet, threatening to become an international incident. Tuan Tuan is not just any endangered giant panda, even in a culture that reveres the animal. Tuan Tuan and his partner Yuan Yuan are diplomatic goodwill gifts from Beijing -- a longstanding practice known as "panda diplomacy." Their combined names translate as "Reunion."
    The pandas were given to Taiwan by China in 2008.
    To everyone's relief, the news turned out to be untrue. The paper retracted the story and apologized in a statement on its website for the "potentially egregious error given the political sensitivity surrounding the panda pair."
    To drive home the point, the Taipei Zoo posted a photo showing Tuan Tuan behind bars, recent newspapers spread out in the foreground. And a spokesman told CNN that "all is well" with the animal.
    It's hard to tell whether the photo is real -- one of the newspapers resembles a screenshot -- but if it's a proof of life photo it's hard to tell what kind of life Tuan Tuan is living.
    In any case, the photo caption says it all:
    "Tuan Tuan says: got any more questions? Please pay no attention to internet rumors, caring friends. No need to worry about Tuan Tuan, ok?"