Pregnant Giant Panda Still Missing

A pregnant giant panda who wandered away from the Wolong Giant Panda Protection Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province some two months ago has yet to be found.

Sources with the center said that the panda, "Baixue," which means "white snow," left the center on the morning of May 30.

The sources said that center staff have been searching for Baixue around the breeding center and on nearby mountains.

The workers found freshly chewed bamboo shoots on a nearby hillbetween May 31 and June 4.

On June 5, they laid out a food trail of milk and steamed bread,trying to lure Baixue back home, but failed.

The panda was spotted on a mountain four kilometers away from the breeding center by a local farmer at the end of June, but there have been no reports of her since.

Zhang Guiquan, deputy director of the center, said that Baixue is safe because she is still in the protection zone. The giant panda protection center is located in the state-level Wolong Nature Reserve, covering an area of 2,000 sq km.

Currently, 74 wild giant pandas are living in the nature reserve.

( 08/16/2001)