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Reserve captures rare wild panda photos

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-06-15 13:32

LANZHOU - The largest of China's 55 panda nature reserves has recently captured its first photos of wild pandas in over a decade, it confirmed on Saturday.

A total of 11 pictures of two of the reclusive animals was taken by two sheltered camera traps, which are over one km apart from each other, in April and May, said Liu Zhengxiang, director of the Gansu Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve in northwest China's Gansu Province.

The Baishuijiang Nature Reserve is a 220,000-hectare area covered by dense forests in southern Gansu.

The shooting times and analysis of these photos shows they are of two different wild pandas living in the region, Liu said.

"The photos as well as droppings and food traces indicate frequent wild panda activity in the region," he added.

Wild pandas are alert animals, and it is difficult for zoologists to take pictures at close range.

For this reason, the reserve started using sheltered camera traps in 2012 to monitor and track wild pandas and other rare animals.

An inspector in the reserve found the photos earlier this week when he was checking the cameras.

They recorded the real living situations of wild pandas, and they can help zoologists study the panda population in the reserve, said Liu.

To better protect pandas, Gansu animal protection authorities are conducting a fourth field survey on the pandas, and zoologists will gather the animals' DNA information on a large scale for the first time.

The third national census of giant pandas, carried out in the 2000-2002 period, indicated the Baishuijiang Nature Reserve is home to 117 wild pandas.

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