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China's giant pandas in good health overseas, administration says

By Li Hongyang | | Updated: 2023-10-24 17:17
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A special birthday party is held at Everland theme park in South Korea for giant panda Fu Bao, who turned 3, July 20, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

The 63 giant pandas living in zoos in foreign countries are in good health and international cooperation on the conservation of the species has yielded remarkable results, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration said this week.

The administration recently conducted on-site assessments of China's expatriate giant panda population in 19 countries. They found their overall health was good, except for some elderly pandas with health issues that had received proper medical care.

The overseas institutions that had entered into partnerships with China had generally complied with requirements in terms of venue construction, feeding, care and disease prevention measures, the assessments found.

Panda repatriations delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic are resuming, with 25-year-old female Mei Xiang, 26-year-old male Tian Tian and their three-year-old male cub Xiao Qi Ji expected to return to China from the United States' National Zoo in Washington this year.

Since the 1990s, China has engaged in giant panda conservation and research with 26 institutions from 20 countries, including the US and Russia. Those efforts have led to the birth of 68 panda cubs.

Over the years, international partners in panda conservation have tackled technological challenges in areas such as panda breeding, disease prevention and release into the wild, the administration said.

Their research had resulted in papers that had improved the health and breeding capacity of captive pandas, increased genetic diversity and extended average life spans, it said.

The international cooperation projects have trained over 1,000 people in the protection of giant pandas and other endangered wildlife.

To ensure the health and safety of pandas living abroad, which remain China's property, the administration regularly conducts exchanges and dispatches expert groups to conduct on-site inspections and assessments of overseas institutions.

China is engaged in panda conservation cooperation and research with 19 countries — Japan, the US, Austria, Thailand, Spain, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Singapore, Belgium, Malaysia, South Korea, the Netherlands, Germany, Indonesia, Finland, Denmark, Russia and Qatar — that are hosting 63 giant pandas.

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