September 21, 2009

Displaced Pandas To Return Home By 2012

A group of 60 giant pandas relocated by the massive earthquake last year is expected to be returned home by 2012, according to state media.

According to a report from Xinhua news on Saturday, the pandas were moved from the Wolong base in southwest China's Sichuan Province following an 8.0-magnitude earthquake last year.

Initially there were a total of 63 pandas at Wolong before the May 12, 2008 incident, but one was killed during the earthquake, one is missing and the other died from health complications, according to Luo Zengbin, deputy head of the Sichuan Provincial Forestry Department.

Additionally, twelve panda protection workers were killed during the quake, and 57 were severely injured, while damaging 57,391 hectares of protected habitat, which is now in the process of a $55.5 million reconstruction, Xinhua reported.

The remaining pandas were moved to various zoos throughout China, as they await the completion of the reconstruction process.

According to AFP, some 1,590 pandas exist in China, most of them in Sichuan, northern Shaanxi and northwestern Gansu provinces.

Additionally, 180 pandas have been bred in captivity.


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