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Pandas evacuated in face of quake risk
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The captive giant pandas at the research center in quake-hit Wolong in southwestern Sichuan Province will be evacuated after a recent study warned of mounting quake threat there.

A group of experts from the provincial seismic department conducted research in Hetaoping, where the panda center is located, rating the local quake risk at a dangerous level, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The center has transported the first batch of 19 pandas to a base in Yan'an, Sichuan. The remaining pandas will be sent to research centers in the provincial capital, Chengdu, Fuzhou, Fujian Province, and Panyu, Guangdong Province.

Seven panda cubs that were born last year will be raised at a feedlot in Wolong.

An official with the center said that the pandas will return home in two or three years when the new center is erected, but with the location changed to a new place in Huangcaoping.

The May 12 earthquake caused huge losses at the research center, devastating buildings, killing a panda, and leaving several more missing.

(CRI June 24, 2008)

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