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Panda shows carnivorous side

By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)

10:30, December 31, 2011

CHENGDU - To most people, the words "giant panda" conjure up thoughts of a gentle and slow vegetarian living in captivity.

But digital photos taken on an infrared camera in Sichuan province, home to more than 80 percent of the pandas in the world, are making many question the accuracy of such notions.

Recently monitoring the panda habitat at the Laohegou State Forest in Sichuan's Pingwu county, near the Baishuijiang Panda Nature Reserve in neighboring Gansu province, researchers came across a strange find. It was a dead adult wildebeest that had been trapped between rocks in a ravine in late October.

"The wildebeest must have got stuck when it was running and then died," said Chen Youping, chief of the Pingwu-based State-level panda reserve.

The researchers also noted signs that another animal had been eating wildebeest's leg.

"To learn what kind of animals would be feasting on the wildebeest, researchers installed an infrared camera near it on Oct 28," Chen said.

The camera was retrieved on Dec 8. To the researchers' surprise, its roughly 600 photographs showed that the wildebeest was being eaten by a giant panda.

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