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Scared pandas receive counseling after quake

English.news.cn   2013-04-22 01:53:16            

CHENGDU, April 21 (Xinhua) -- In the 7.0-magnitude quake that jolted southwest China's Sichuan Province, giant pandas have become special "victims."

Although no deaths or injuries of pandas were reported so far, the rare species at Bifengxia Panda Base, located 50 kilometers away from the epicenter in Longmen county, Ya'an city, were found scared by the devastating quake.

Ya'an is home to giant pandas. In 1869, a French missionary Armand David discovered the giant panda in Baoxing County of the city, making the black and white bears known to the world.

According to the video captured by the camera surveillance, when the quake occurred at 8:02 a.m. Saturday, the pandas were slack-jawed for a while, and then some of them climbed onto trees, and some others fled to somewhere else they believed safe, said Heng Yi, a spokesman with the base.

"Those daring ones remained calm, while the timid ones suffered from shock," he said, adding the pandas needs extra care and even psychological therapy.

Breeders provided abundant food for the pandas to assure them "nothing is wrong," and for those young cubs who were scared the most, breeders will play with them to ease their tense, said a director surnamed Wang in charge of animal management of the base.

"Breeders' close-distance communications will help comfort the pandas," said Wang.

There are 61 giant pandas at the base, and nearly half of them were moved here from the Wolong Natural Reserve five years ago, when 8.0-magnitude earthquake happened near the area. People in Wolong also felt the tremor this time, but no casualties of human beings and pandas were caused, said Zhang Hemin, chief of Wolong Natural Reserve.

Apart from Bifengxia and Wolong, Fengtongzhai Natural Reserve, located in northeastern Baoxing County and 80 km away from the epicenter Lushan, was also a habitat for wild pandas. There are about 40 pandas in the reserve.

Quake-triggered landslides disrupted the road traffic and water supply of the reserve, and the conditions of the pandas there have been unknown yet.

Zuo Guangyuan, chief of the management bureau of the Fengtongzhai natural reserve, said nine of the workers were still not reached, and a special team has been sent to verify the conditions of the pandas.

No dead or injured pandas had been found so far, but aftershocks and potential subsequent disasters may threaten their safety, said Zuo.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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