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Last pandas moved from quake-hit Wolong Reserve
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By Wang Wei
China.org.cn staff reporter in Sichuan

The last six pandas left in the Wolong nature reserve after the Sichuan earthquake have begun a new life at Bifengxia Base in Ya'an City, after being moved there on April 25.

Photo taken on April 28, 2009 shows one of the six pandas is eating bamboos in the Bifengxia panda base. [China.org.cn]

Photo taken on April 28, 2009 shows one of the six pandas is eating bamboos in the Bifengxia panda base. [China.org.cn]

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The three females called Wujun, Qingfeng and Xiangge, and three males called Wenyu, Shuiling and Wangjia were all born in 2007.

According to staff at the base, four of the pandas, Wenyu, Xiangge, Shuiling and Qingfeng will be moved to Beijing on April 29 where they are expected to be a major tourist draw during the National Day holiday in October.

The Wolong nature reserve, just 10 kilometers away from the epicenter of the earthquake was severely damaged last May. Most of the pandas in the reserve were moved to Bifengxia Base or to zoos in other cities. Only the six 18 month year-old pandas were left at the base. .

"We decided to leave the six panda cubs at Wolong for several reasons," said Heng Yi, public relations director of the Bifengxia base, "On the one hand, we did not have enough room at Bifengxia to accommodate all the pandas from the reserve; but another reason was that the six panda cubs were a symbol of life and provided psychological comfort for the people [in Wolong]."

"We are in the process of building a new breeding center for pandas so we are now in a position to move the six cubs. Also, people are gradually recovering from the trauma and are now busy rebuilding their own homes."

Heng indicated that it will take at least two years to construct the breeding center.

Bifengxia Base, located in Ya'an City, is part of the China Giant Protection and Research Center. There are currently 83 pandas in Bifengxia, 53 of which were evacuated from Wolong after the earthquake.

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