Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Update on the Wolong Reserve Pandas

We’ve all heard about the terrible earthquake that devastated parts of China last month. Only recently I realised that the epicentre of the quake was only 30 kilometres from the China Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center which I blogged about a few weeks ago here. So I checked on the Internet if these special and highly endangered animals had survived.

I was pleased to read that the 86 giant pandas, though initially distressed, are all safe and well. All the panda cubs had been transported to safety by the staff and, though initially three adult pandas were missing, they had now returned to the reserve. Unfortunately, the humans at the reserve did not fare as well and five of the staff died.

All the panda houses were severely damaged. Of a total 32 panda houses, 14 were destroyed and the others were severely damaged.

The reserve is in an isolated, densely wooded mountainous area and it took a while for supplies to get through. But now bamboo, apples, and veterinary medicine for the pandas, as well as food and tents urgently needed by the dedicated staff have arrived at the reserve. Like the rest of the areas affected by the earthquake, Wolong is now picking up the pieces and trying to make a new home for the pandas and continue their important conservation work with these amazing creatures.

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