Two giant pandas to be released into wild

Beijing, Sep 15 (IANS) Two giant pandas bred in captivity will be released into the wild in southwest China’s Sichuan province, authorities said on Tuesday.

The two females, born in 2013, have finished a two-year wild life training programme, Xinhua news agency reported.

A team of experts believe the pair, “Hua Jiao” and “Hua Yan”, have met their wild training target and are well prepared to be released into the Liziping Nature Reserve in the county of Shimian at a later date, the county publicity department said in a press release.

China started releasing captive-bred pandas into the wild in 2006 when five-year-old male Xiang Xiang was released in Wolong National Nature Reserve. However, Xiang Xiang died after fighting with other pandas over food and territory roughly a year later.

In 2012, 2013 and 2014, three more pandas were successfully released in the Liziping reserve.

Researchers have been following the three with the help of GPS collars, radio positioning tools and DNA extracted from their spoor. Monitoring data shows the animals are doing well.

Giant pandas are one of the world’s most endangered species.

About 1,600 of the animals live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan, while more than 300 live in captivity.

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