Pandas relocated during quake to return by 2012: State media
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Last Updated: Sunday, September 20, 2009, 13:30
Beijing: Sixty giant pandas, relocated from their base in southwest China's Sichuan Province, after last year's devastating earthquake destroyed their home are set to return in 2012, state media reported.

The 8.0-magnitude quake in May last year left more than 87,000 people dead and missing in Sichuan, and seriously damaged the Wolong nature reserve, which had 63 pandas in captivity, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

One panda was killed in the tremor, one is still missing, and another died of an illness, Luo Zengbin, deputy head of the Sichuan Provincial Forestry Department said.

Twelve people who worked with the pandas were killed due to the quake while 57 others were seriously injured and nearly 148,000 acres of the animals' habitat in southwestern China got damaged, the report said.

The surviving animals were moved to zoos in other parts of the country while the Wolong base underwent a USD 56 million reconstruction programme, expected to be completed by 2011.

Around 1,590 pandas live in the wild in China, mostly in Sichuan, northern Shaanxi and northwestern Gansu provinces. A total of 180 have been bred in captivity.

According to a World Wildlife Fund report, the giant panda could soon die out as rapid economic development is infringing on its way of life.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, September 20, 2009, 13:30

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