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Step up fight against panda disease: Experts (2)

By HUANG ZHILING (China Daily)

13:45, November 14, 2012

"It's good we know these causes," he said. "We have more captive pandas and can therefore find more diseases."

When the committee was set up in 1989, there were just 92 pandas living in captivity worldwide. Today, there are 341, and many of the problems they face, including difficulty to conceive and for cubs to survive, have largely been solved.

However, as captive pandas are kept mainly at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, the Chengdu base, or the Louguantai Center for the Rescue and Breeding of Wild Animals in Shaanxi province, the rise in population density has resulted in a higher risk of infectious diseases.

Pu Anning, director of the general office at the Chengdu breeding base, said: "If a panda catches flu, other pandas fall victim, too."

To cope with the situation, the base has built the Dujiangyan Field Research Center in the foothills of Zhaogong Mountain, where six giant pandas were settled in January.

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