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China's first panda disease control center to be complete by 2010

Mar 15, 2009     Email"> PrintText Size

The Wolong Giant Panda Disease Control Center, the first such facility in China, should be completed by the end of 2010, Wolong National Natural Reserve Administration Bureau head Zhang Hemin said Friday.

The center was originally meant to be at the Wolong National Natural Reserve, and construction began in 2007. But the Wolong facility sustained severe damage in last year's Sichuan earthquake, so the disease control facility was relocated to Shiqiao Village, Qingchengshan Town, Dujiangyan City.

Work started all over, and the new center should be completed by the end of 2010, Zhang said. Despite its new location, the center will use the Wolong name.

The Wolong reserve, only 30 km from the May 12 quake's epicenter of Wenchuan County, is home to giant pandas. The quake killed five staff and one panda. Fourteen of the 32 pens were destroyed. The bears were later evacuated to other breeding bases.

"The center is important for the observation, research and treatment of giant panda diseases," Zhang said.

The center includes a lab, a veterinary hospital and 40 pens, he said.

Giant pandas are among the world's most endangered animals. China has about 1,590 pandas living in wild, mostly in Sichuan and the northwestern Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. (Xinhua)

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