Home>News Center>China

Panda love in the air, bears seek new mates
By Qin Yan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-21 00:14

Some of China's giant pandas are on the move, flying off to new cities where their keepers hope the endangered bears will soon be exchanging loving glances with new bears.

Chinese scientists are betting on it, predicting that resulting panda offspring could positively affect the diversity of the cherished species' gene pool.

Here's how it's planned: three giant pandas from the Beijing Zoo were sent to Wolong, Southwest China's Sichuan Province yesterday and will stay there for at least years.

In exchange, three giant pandas from Wolong will be flown to Beijing on Friday and settle down in their new home at the Beijing Zoo.

Wolong has a famous giant panda habitat where the world-renowned Giant Panda Conservation and Research Centre is located.

Researchers hope the first of its kind exchange programme, conducted by the Beijing Zoo and the centre, can help maintain the species' biodiversity.

 "It is absolutely a good thing and should have been done earlier,'' said Wang Song, an expert with the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Wang said the move will help improve the quality of new-born pandas.

 "It's impossible for giant pandas fed in captivity to survive through natural selection," Xinhua quoted a zoo keeper as saying.

 "Inbreeding among giant pandas in the same areas easily leads to species' degeneration.''

The pandas from the Beijing Zoo are named "Yuanyuan,'' "Yingying'' and "Tiantian.'' The first two are male and were born in 1999 and 1991, while the latter is a female born last year.

Of the three flying to Beijing on Friday, one was born last year.

The latest survey conducted by the State Forestry Administration found the number of giant pandas in the wild has increased from 1,100 in 1988 to more than 1,590 today.

The increase is attributed to the improvement in habitat and successful research in artificial insemination.

More than 90 per cent of giant pandas have been protected in 60 nature reserves, said Zhuo Rongsheng, an official with the State Forestry Administration, in a June interview.

Chinese scientists have worked out artificial fertilization technologies to improve the birth rate of giant pandas bred in captivity, and at least 90 per cent of the artificially bred baby pandas have survived, said Zhuo.

But Wang said more needs to be done.

For example, efforts should be made to let pandas live in the wild on their own, rather than being fed by humans in their enclosures.

  Today's Top News     Top China News

Northern cold front sends mercury plunging



Job problem challenges Shanghai



Dirty, illegal blood stations shut down



Law on renewable energy in pipeline



Aging issue cries out for solutions



"Golden Week" holidays loses favour: survey


  "Golden Week" holidays loses favour: survey
  Chinese art galleries to see "golden time"
  Family planning policy won't be readjusted in Beijing
  Official: Global talents welcome to China
  Guangdong reports income growth
  New regulation focuses on animal welfare
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Beijing, Sichuan to exchange giant pandas
Huamei's baby
Is she or isn't she? Panda gives the runaround
Panda learning motherhood from videos
Hooray for Panda Hua Mei: She's a mom
China announces gene bank to clone pandas
Panda Peipei dies at age 33
  News Talk  
  It is time to prepare for Beijing - 2008