China Plans Fifth Panda Breeding Centre

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China plans to open a fifth breeding centre for giant pandas in an effort to boost the population of the notoriously sex-shy species, state media reported on Wednesday.Four young adult pandas are due to arrive at a zoo in the central city of Changsha on May 1 from a breeding base in southwestern Sichuan province, which was hit by a devastating quake in 2008, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Xie Zhongsan, an official at the Changsha Zoo, in Hunan province, said a cooperation agreement had already been signed with the breeding base in Sichuan to launch the new facility.”We are waiting for the forestry authorities’ approval of the new breeding base,” he was quoted as saying.”We plan to arrange for two to three panda experts to take care of the giant pandas and we’ll learn how to help them breed,” he added.

There are four other giant panda breeding bases in China — one in Beijing, one in northern Shaanxi province and two in Sichuan, the report said.Pandas, one of the world’s most endangered species, are a national treasure in China.

They are notoriously poor breeders and experts in China are desperately trying to make the creatures mate to ensure their survival, using measures as extreme as panda pornography or rigorous “sexercises”.There are nearly 1,600 pandas living in the wild, more than three-quarters of them in Sichuan. Pandas are also found in northwestern Gansu province and Shaanxi. Another 180 are in captive-breeding programmes in China.

(source)

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