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Dagon Akujin
1st June 07, 10:26 PM
From Yahoo News: (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070531/wl_afp/chinaanimalpanda_070531102513)

BEIJING (AFP) - The only giant panda released into the wild after being bred in captivity has died, setting back China's efforts to save the critically endangered species, state press reported Thursday.

Xiang Xiang was found dead in February on snow-covered ground after apparently being mauled by wild male pandas protecting their territory, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The five-year-old was bred in captivity at the Wolong Nature Reserve in China's southwestern Sichuan province and released into the wild in April last year, but proved unable to cope with real-life conditions.

"We chose Xiang Xiang because we thought that a strong male panda would have a better chance of surviving in the harsh natural environment," said the reserve's deputy director, Li Desheng.

"But the other male pandas clearly saw Xiang Xiang as a threat."

Xiang Xiang, which means "Auspicious", underwent three years of training before his release, learning to build a den, forage for food and mark his territory, but not how to fight well enough.

"We have to give captive-bred pandas better survival training, especially combat and defence skills," Xinhua quoted reserve vetenarian Yang Chunxiang as saying.

Giant pandas are the world's most endangered species, with just 1,590 living in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan, and more than 210 in captivity, according to Xinhua.

In 2003, China began teaching the animals bred in captivity to live in the their natural environment so that the population in the wild would grow.

Xinhua described Xiang Xiang's death as a "major setback" for those efforts but officials said more pandas would be released into the wild.

"We are all sad about Xiang Xiang, but it doesn't mean the project has failed," said Zhang Hemin, head of the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong.

"The lessons we have learnt from what happened to Xiang Xiang will help us adapt and improve the project."

Xinhua said the announcement of Xiang Xiang's death was delayed until a full investigation had been completed.



Things they'll teach in panda-fu:

1. Don't get turned on by porn, and don't have sex with other pandas.
2. Eat bamboo.
3. Look all cute!
4. Die off.
5. Fall from trees.

Dagon

Steve
2nd June 07, 12:02 AM
This story makes me sad but it is pretty interesting that the Chinese are now going to have to try and teach Pandas to defend themselves in some way...

I think I may know who they'll need to lead class:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i141/forstevee/300px-T5_Panda.jpg