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Quake leads pandas to diet


Some 67 giant pandas living in the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base are now on a diet after the May 12 earthquake damaged bamboo forests.

Two giant pandas living in the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base

The deadly earthquake has damaged the bamboo forests in Dujiangyan, Mianyang, Jiangyou, Pingwu and Ya'an, causing food shortage for the pandas, according to Wang Chengdong, an official with the base.

The base had to ration bamboo for the bears, who should have eaten more bamboo during the breeding season, a breeder told the Chengdu-based Tianfu Morning Post.

An adult giant panda usually created 10 kilograms of faeces per day, however, now it only produced 2-3 kg because of scarce food, said Wang.

Besides bamboo, breeders were feeding these pandas with feed and fruits. However, bamboo shoots, one of the bears' favorite food usually served at this season, were missing from the daily menu because of the tremor.

The bamboo shortage would not last for long, however, said Hu Jinchu, a panda expert with China animals institute.

As a bamboo-rich province, there were still bamboo forests undamaged in other parts of Sichuan, and new bamboo would grow up soon on the quake-ravaged land, said Hu.

China's major giant panda habitat, home to about 1,400 of the wild bears, suffered great damage in the quake.

According to the State Forestry Administration, the tremor affected 28.5 million mu (about 1.9 million hectares), or 83 percent of the country's total area of the panda habitat, with 8.3 percent being completely destroyed. One panda died in the quake in Wolong nature reserve.

(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2008)


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