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Panda poo excites experts
Updated: 2005-02-17 09:22

A study of giant panda poo in China had proved the endangered animals were expanding their horizons, Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.

A giant panda cub rests at a panda park in the outskirt of Chengdu, capital of China's southwestern Sichuan province, July 27, 2004. [Reuters]

The faeces were found in Fengxian County, in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, where giant pandas had not been seen since before the 1970s, it said.

In December, a farmer told the Fengxian County Wildlife Management Station he had spotted an animal that looked very much like a giant panda and had seen giant panda dung while collecting bamboo leaves on a mountain.

"Experts with the Shaanxi Provincial Wildlife Management Station confirmed that the dung was left by an adult giant panda," Xinhua said.

"They ascribed the appearance of giant pandas in Fengxian County, located on the western section of Qinling Mountain, a major habitat for giant pandas, to the government's strenuous efforts to restore and protect natural forest resources in the region over recent years."

Giant pandas disappeared from Fengxian County before the 1970s because of the construction of a railway from Baoqi in Shaanxi to the capital city of Chengdu in Sichuan Province.

A project to protect the natural forest was startede in the area in 1999. The Shaanxi Provincial Government approved the establishment of the Wuliang Mountain Nature Reserve in 2002.

The number of pandas in the wild had soared by almost half to about 1,600 in just a few years, thanks to enlarged habitats and improved ecosystems, Xinhua said last month.

Chinese forestry officials said last year that pandas, notoriously fussy eaters and picky partners, were rebounding from the brink of extinction.

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