China expands program to prep giant pandas for life in wild

15:28, June 03, 2011      

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After the completion of the initial stage of the Wolong panda wild training program, the giant panda research center in southwest China's Sichuan province is planning to release six more breeding female pandas into wildness this year, according to the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda. The move aims to expand a wild training program for captive-bred pandas to adapt to the wild environment.

It has been proven that the first phase of wild training has equipped Cao Cao and its cub Tao Tao with basic skills to survive in the wild. Tao Tao, the first-ever panda baby born under wild training, has successfully endured the heavy snow that hit the Wolong Nature Reserve in March. The stronger and more independent Tao Tao has started to develop a sense of territoriality that is solely possessed by wild giant pandas.

This year, the panda research center will completely stop feeding Tao Tao and let the pandas rely on themselves for food, according to Huang Yan, head of Wolong's wild training base. In addition, workers will use urine, sounds and smells of panda's natural enemies to strengthen the pandas' vigilance and disguise themselves as leopards to scare the pandas to warn them of potential dangers in the wild.

By People's Daily Online
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