Mon, March 23, 2009
Video > News/Media

Pandas return to Sichuan

2009-03-23 02:58:58 GMT2009-03-23 10:58:58 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

On the road home.

Eight young pandas, being returned to China's Sichuan province.

The animals had been evacuated to the Beijing Zoo last year, after the 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan destroyed a breeding centre and part of their natural habitat.

The panda is China's national animal, and many are fiercely proud of it.

The earthquake killed 80,000 people, and the pandas' return is viewed in China as a symbol of the region's recovery.

SOUNDBITE: Beijing salesman Yang Shuo saying (Mandarin):

"Pandas are our national treasure, and if they can live well, I believe all the people of our country can unite together. We should never hang our heads in the face of adversity"

These animals had initially been traumatised by the earthquake and suffered a poor appetite.

Recovered, they became famous around the country after going on display ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

More than two million people visited them during their stay at the zoo, and before they departed, hundreds gathered to take a final look.

The giant panda is only found in China, remains an endangered species.

Only a thousand are thought to exist, the majority found in Sichuan province.

Andrew Potter, Reuters

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