Wolong pandas get much needed food, medicines

Updated: 2008-05-22 07:01

CHENGDU - The government has sent 4,500 kg of bamboos, 1,050 kg of bamboo shoots, and huge quantities of apples, soybean, eggs, milk powder and other food items to feed the giant pandas in China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong.

Medicines, too, have been sent to treat the pandas, some of whom were injured in the quake.

A panda cub rests after drinking a bowl of milk at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, Sichuan province, April 17, 2008.  [Agencies]
The center has suffered extensive damage because it is just 30 km from the epicenter of the May 12 quake.

"There was only water (for the pandas) for a few days after the quake," Xiong Beirong, a Sichuan provincial forestry department official, said yesterday.

The supply of bamboo had been suspended because people stopped collecting them from the mountains after the quake, the wildlife protection official said.

The quake killed five workers of the panda center. Two of the center's 53 pandas were injured and six went missing.

But four of the missing pandas returned by Tuesday, and officials are searching for the other two. And the injured ones have received medical treatment, Xiong said.

The eight pandas, chosen to entertain tourists during the Olympic Games, have been sent to the provincial capital of Chengdu, and will be flown to Beijing on Saturday.

Most of the about 1,590 pandas living in China's wild are found in Sichuan. The rest of them are in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Another 180 have been bred in captivity.

The more than 60 pandas at another breeding center in Chengdu were reported safe. Eight more pandas in a preserve in Ya'an, about an hour's drive west of Chengdu, are safe too.

The Wolong center is situated deep in the mountains north of Chengdu along a winding, two-lane road that was partially blocked by landslides after the quake.

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