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Sichuan's wild panda population grows 33% in three decades

08-02-2010 17:14 BJT

CHENGDU, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The population of giant pandas living in the wild in southwest China's Sichuan Province has risen by 33 percent in the last three decades to 1,206, the local government said.

Photo taken on May 29, 2010 shows a pair of pandas at Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province.(Xinhua File Photo)
Photo taken on May 29, 2010 shows a pair of pandas at Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding 
and Research Base in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province.
(Xinhua File Photo)

"Altogether 1,206 giant pandas are living in the mountains of Sichuan, making up at least 76 percent of China's total," the provincial forestry department said in a press release Monday.

The endangered bears are found in 10 city and prefectural areas, including Chengdu, Deyang, Mianyang, Leshan, Meishan, Guangyuan, Aba, Garze and Liangshan, it said.

Another 246 pandas are living in captivity at the giant panda protection and research center in Wolong and the Chengdu research base, the world's two largest centers for artificial breeding of the bears.

Sichuan Province has 41 nature reserves for giant pandas covering 2.34 million hectares in total.

Panda experts in Sichuan have reported success in artificial insemination and breeding of giant pandas, a sex-shy species on the verge of extinction.

Even in 2008, when a massive earthquake shook most parts of Sichuan Province and destroyed panda's habitat in Wolong, 30 panda cubs were born and survived.

This year is set to see another baby boom, with seven cubs born so far at the Wolong base alone.

In its most recent figures published in 2004, the State Forestry Administration put China's giant panda population at 1,751, including at least 1,590 in the wild and 161 raised in captivity.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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