Giant Panda Facts

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China's giant panda protection researchers are exploring a new way to alter the destiny of the endangered species - to return them to nature after giving them relevant training in a simulated wild environment.

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Giant Panda
Giant Panda

The Bifengxia Giant Panda Base was planned and built especially for the giant panda releasing. Construction of the first phase of the base will be completed by the end of August. Sixteen giant panda "pioneers" will be migrated from the China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong to the Bifengxia Giant Panda Base in September. They will be given wild training in the base to alter their endangered fate. The program is so far the world's largest for giant panda migration.

Giant Panda
Giant Panda

The new home for giant pandas is located in the ravine of Bifengxia (Green Peak Canyon), at 1,100 to 1,200 meters above sea level. Bifengxia is under the jurisdiction of Ya'an City in southwest China's Sichuan Province and is 148 km from Chengdu .

In the dense broadleaf forest with singing birds and murmuring streams stands a big gate with the image of a lovely giant panda carved on it, marking the entrance to the Bifengxia Giant Panda Base. Walking through the gate and along the meandering mountain slope for a while, you see several European-style cabins made of bricks and tiles. These are the pandas' houses, including kindergartens. Lush arbor plants such as camphor trees and oaks add more mystery to the unusual environment. Soon your eyes are brightened by an artificial lake of about 1,000 square meters. But wait, the most amazing is the breeding ground in S shape, which, separated from the outside by ditches, is dotted with water pools and shrubs.

Giant Panda
Giant Panda

According to Wei Rongping, director of the base, there are over 20 places prepared for panda activities and scientific experiments, such as panda grazing grounds, kindergartens for young pandas, panda hospital and a scientific research institute.

At present, the base has 16 houses for the 16 coming giant pandas, each of whom will have its individual residence. There are also 16 grazing grounds, each covering at least 1,000 square meters, nine times bigger than the central one in Wolong. Several different varieties of bamboo, all favorites of giant panda, have been planted in the base either by the water or on the slopes. The new home for giant pandas will appear like a park with a natural environment for giant panda, bamboo and human beings living in harmony.

Giant Panda
Giant Panda

The base is built with investments from the State Forestry Administration, according to Wei Rongping. The construction began in October 2002, and the planned acreage totals 400 hectares. The whole project will be completed in three phases. The first phase, to be completed in August 2003, covers 70 hectares of land and costs over 27 million yuan (US$3.26 million). Divided into the east and west zones, the major function of the first phase are to provide facilities for the research on giant panda are breeding. Each of the 16 pandas in the first batch of migration will be moved into a quarter best suitable for its habits and characteristics.

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