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Step up fight against panda disease: Experts

By HUANG ZHILING (China Daily)

13:44, November 14, 2012

China's top wildlife experts on Tuesday called for more measures to prevent and control the spread of disease among giant pandas, after a rise this year in the number dying from abnormal or unknown causes.

Globally, 13 pandas died in captivity this year, compared with four in 2011.

"This figure, however, does not include deaths of newborn cubs," said Zhang Zhihe, director of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Southwest China's Sichuan province. He added: "The survival rate of newborn cubs has also dropped this year."

Two cubs born prematurely died at the base, while another two died at a research institute in Shaanxi province.

Experts met in Chengdu, the provincial capital, on Tuesday for the start of a two-day annual conference of the Chinese Committee of Breeding Techniques for Giant Pandas.

Zhang Hemin, director of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, said that like humans, pandas can suffer many diseases, and known causes of death for adult pandas include cardiovascular tumors and cerebral hemorrhages.

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