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Pandas to receive wild training

By Yang Jinghao (Global Times)

08:56, December 22, 2011

Xing Rong, one of the first in a batch of pandas bred in captivity that will be sent into the wild on January 11.(Shanghai Daily Photo)

Six giant pandas bred in captivity will be sent to a newly built reintroduction research center in Sichuan Province next month for a training program before their final return to the wilderness, a local panda research base announced yesterday.

This significant move aims to supplement and reinforce the number of giant pandas living in the wild and improve their genetic diversity, Zhang Zhihe, director of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, told reporters in Beijing.

The six pandas, three males and three females, were selected from the 108 captive ones bred at the base by criteria of their age, gender, health condition and genetic background. They were all born in either 2008 or 2009.

Their destination will be the Dujiangyan Reintroduction Research Center, also named the Panda Valley.

The yet-to-be-opened research center, covering an area of about 140 hectares, can accommodate 30 to 40 giant pandas, as well as 50 to 100 red pandas. It also integrates facilities for tourism.

Since the rescue of the first giant panda in January 1953, the Chengdu base has successfully bred 108 pandas, with success rates rising.

The continuous increase in population has also raised a demand for better infrastructure to house the pandas.

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