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Panda pair to Taiwan safe after quake
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The two giant pandas expected to be sent to Taiwan are "safe and sound" after their breeding center was hit by a massive quake, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said on Wednesday.

Yang Yi, a spokesman with the office, released the conditions about "Tuan Tuan" and "Yuan Yuan" at a press conference here.

After the quake, all the 86 pandas raised at the Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center, including the two to be sent to Taiwan, had been transported to a more spacious and safer place, Xiong Beirong, an official with the forestry department of Sichuan Province, told Xinhua Wednesday morning.

Wolong is about 30 kilometers from the southwest China earthquake epicenter, Wenchuan.

"At present, Wolong is still largely out of reach by roads or telecommunications. We only had a brief telephone conversation with the Wolong side which was soon cut off," Xiong said over the phone.

All 144 pandas raised in three panda research bases in Chengdu, Wolong and Xi'an -- all in the quake zone -- were unharmed, according to the State Forestry Administration (SFA).

China has more than 1,590 pandas living in the wild in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Their safety is still unknown, Xinhua learnt from the administration.

(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2008)

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