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Giant female panda Xin Yuan dies before release


12-08-2014 06:56 BJT

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CHENGDU, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- A giant panda scheduled to be released to the wild later this month has died, confirmed local sources on Saturday.

The panda, Xin Yuan, was found dead on Nov. 20. The two-year-old female, which lived at the conservation and research center for the giant panda in southwest China's Sichuan Province, died from respiratory and renal failure.

Xin Yuan, born on July 28, 2012, was raised in an enclosure together with her mom Long Xin for a rehabilitation project. She was trained how to search for food and water while avoiding predators, and was expected to be released in the Liziping Nature Reserve.

Staff failed to find Xin Yuan on Nov. 18 and searched for nearly two days before discovering her body. The enclosure was disinfected and several pandas were quarantined.

Giant pandas are one of the world's most endangered species. About 1,600 of the animals live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan, while more than 300 live in captivity.

China started sending captive-bred pandas into the wild in 2006. Four have been released so far, with the last one Xue Xue set free in October.

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