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Giant pandas in Wolong confirmed safe after quake
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The 86 giant pandas raised at the China Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center, about 30 kilometers from the southwest China earthquake epicenter, were all safe and well, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) confirmed on Tuesday.

File phot: Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, two giant pandas in Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center

All the panda cubs had been transported to safety, the Wolong center told SFA by satellite telephone after being out of contact for 30 hours.

All 144 pandas raised in three panda research bases in Chengdu, Wolong and Xi'an -- all in the quake zone -- were unharmed.

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.

Sichuan, the worst hit province, is home to 75 percent of China's wild pandas while Shaanxi has 17 percent and Gansu 7 percent, according to the administration.

The SFA urged the panda reserves to step up safety checks to protect staff and pandas.

Local bases should closely monitor pandas in the wild, and provide promptly rescue injured pandas, the SFA said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2008)

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