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
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.