Elderly female wild panda receiving medical care

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The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding has been treating a sick panda that was found in a village official's storage shed in Sichuan province's Hongya county.

A wild giant panda undergoes an emergency medical procedure in Meishan city, Sichuan province, but is still not out of danger. [Photo/Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding]

The female panda, which is between 16 and 20 years old, is not yet out of danger, said Pu Anning, chief of the base's general office.

At 3:20 pm on Thursday, a dog belonging to Li Wanfang, Party chief of Changhe village in Wanwushan town, began barking continuously. Li went to investigate and found the panda lying in the shed.

Because the panda did not move or react when Li offered it an apple and bamboo, he realized it was sick.

It is difficult for an elderly panda that has been wounded in the wild to survive. This female was said to be very thin, and had possibly not eaten for several days when it was found, said Yang Zhi, chief of the epidemic disease prevention and control department of the panda base, who arrived at the scene on Thursday.

The panda's forefeet are missing, and there are signs of old fractures in two of its ribs and breastbone. It did not react to light or to the people surrounding it, and only raised its head weakly to watch when people spoke loudly and approached.

The panda had many parasites in its abdominal region and its liver was damaged.

Three and a half hours later, after it was given antibacterial and anti-inflammatory treatment and provided with water and electrolytes, its condition improved somewhat, Yang said.

Early on Friday, the panda was sent for further treatment to Dujiangyan, Sichuan, where the panda base has a facility for training captive bears to survive in the wild, Pu said.

The panda had given birth in the wild. How it lost its forefeet is unknown, but it could have been attacked by other animals or a poacher, a worker at the base said.

Li's home is in the Mount Wawu Nature Reserve, a provincial-level reserve for the protection of pandas and the forest ecosystem. Five wild pandas have been spotted or recorded there by a heat-sensing imager since 2005, according to Yang Chun, the reserve's chief of administration.

The sick female panda's age, in equivalent human terms, is between 48 and 80 years, depending on which researcher you ask.

Different experts use different age conversion standards - either three or four human years for one panda year.

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