A 55.8 kg female has become the fourth giant panda to be bred in captivity and released into the wild in China.
Xue Xue, a 55.8 kg female has become the fourth giant panda to be bred in captivity and released into the wild in China.
"Xue Xue," born on Aug. 15, 2012 in Sichuan Wolong Hetaoping Wild Training Base in southwest China's Sichuan Province, was released Tuesday.
Two years of training at the base have taught Xue Xue to search for food and water while avoiding predators in the Liziping Nature Reserve.
Giant pandas are one of the world's most endangered species. About 1,600 of the animals live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan, while more than 300 live in captivity.
China started sending captive-bred pandas into the wild in 2006 when five-year-old male Xiang Xiang was released. However, Xiang Xiang died after fighting with other pandas over food and territory roughly a year later.
In October 2012, Tao Tao, a male, was successfully released in the Liziping Nature Reserve. In November 2013, Zhang Xiang became China's first artificially-bred female giant panda to be released.
"This release is different from previous ones, as Xue Xue's parents are both captive-bred giant pandas, which shows that our wild training has improved," said Zhang Hemin, director of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda of Wolong.
Another panda, two-year-old female Xin Yuan, is expected to be released in November.