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Chengdu panda museum
Updated: 2005-05-09 08:48

The world's biggest giant panda museum will be built in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, an official of the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base said yesterday.

The 5,000-square-meter China Giant Panda Museum will be located within the research center's grounds, the official said.

Management decided on the museum's design after reviewing several submissions by both domestic and overseas architects.

The museum will serve as a venue for promoting awareness about giant panda protection and knowledge about one of the world's most endangered species, the official said.

A similar museum was built at the Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve in the province in 2002.

The animal is often called a "national gem" and is internationally regarded as a symbol of China.

The total population of wild  giant pandas stands at about 1,500, mostly in the mountainous areas of southern and western China.

The first natural reserve for giant pandas was built in the 1950s, when governments started to ban poaching.

Pandas were placed under state protection in 1962.

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