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China plans to reintroduce pandas into the wild, after years of training the captive-bred animals for their new life. 6 pandas were chosen to lead the way. On the 11th of January, they will be sent to the China Panda Valley, their first home, as well as the transitional wild training base.
These pandas bred in captivity are shy but playful. They are also excellent tree climbers and like to eat their favorite foods and bamboo, fed to them by breeders. Compared with wild pandas, they appear to have a much more comfortable life. However, sending these captive-bred giant pandas into the wild requires a complex selection process.
Dr. Qi Dunwu, Giant Panda Specialist, said, "We spent nearly 1 year to monitor and assess these 108 pandas. They are around 4 years old, relative to 10 to 12 in human years. We selected them based on their genetic background, sex ratio, health condition, and many other strict factors. The 6 pandas chosen are very healthy and ready to move to the China Panda Valley.
Among the 6 pandas , Xing Rong and Xing Ya are very special.
Lan Jingchao, Researcher, said, "Xing Rong and Xing Ya are twins but not in the typical sense. They share the same mother, but have two different fathers. We used cutting edge artificial insemination to impregnate their mother.”
To help them adapt to the wild, selected pandas were trained step by step such as how to look for food by themselves. In several years of training, their skills have improved significantly.
Deng Tao, Breeder, said, "In order to train them to find food by themselves, we insert bamboo in a thick bamboo tube. We have noticed that pandas are able to break the bamboo from the middle section, that’s already very close to the behavior of a wild panda.”
Deng Tao was one of the breeders responsible for Xing Rong and Xing Ya. As moving day approaches, he wishes them health and happiness in their new home.
Returning captive pandas into the wild is an important means of protecting the population. It’s also a milestone for the panda conservation program. In just 2 days, Xing Rong, Xing Ya and 4 others will be making a new home, in a place where they truly belong.