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Injured Giant Panda Needs Blood for Operation
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The condition of an injured wild giant panda in northwest China's Shaanxi Province is improving but doctors still cannot operate on it because of a lack of blood supplies, said experts on Wednesday.

The panda is being fed with milk and a mixture of bamboo leaves and wheat powder. It is also receiving other nutrients intravenously. "We can't make a decision on the form of medical treatment until it restores more of its physical strength," said Ma Qingyi, a veterinarian with the provincial rare animal rescue center.

The panda's eyes are now full of vigor, Ma said, although doctors still consider the animal as being in a critical condition.

The panda has a fractured skull, broken legs and chest injuries. Its internal organs and nervous system are also damaged.

It was found lying near a river by tourists on July 1 at a scenic spot about 80 kilometers southwest of Xi'an, provincial capital of Shaanxi. Experts believe the panda might have sustained the injuries after falling into a ravine. They also believe the animal was sick which might have contributed to the fall.

At least 1,500 ml panda plasma are needed for an operation, Ma said, adding that it is difficult to find matching blood from other pandas.

Experts are extracting blood plasma a bit at a time from the panda itself. "We have already collected 200 ml, but it is far from enough," Ma said.

A census in 2002 showed that there were 1,596 wild giant pandas living across China, mainly in the more than 40 nature reserves in Shaanxi, Sichuan and Gansu provinces.

(Xinhua News Agency July 13, 2006)

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