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Pandas receive earthquake counselling

world Updated: Apr 22, 2013 18:04 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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Panda breeders at the at the Bifengxia Panda Base, located 50kms away from the quake epicenter in Longmen County, Ya'an City, have been working around the clock to assure the frightened animals that the situation was okay, state media reported.

“Although no deaths or injuries of pandas were reported so far, the rare species were found scared by the devastating quake,” Xinhua reported.

According to the video captured by the camera surveillance, when the quake occurred at 8:02am on Saturday, the pandas were slack-jawed for a while, and then some of them climbed onto trees, and some others fled to somewhere else they believed safe, Heng Yi, a spokesperson with the base told Xinhua.

“Those daring ones remained calm, while the timid ones suffered from shock,” he said, adding the pandas need extra care and even psychological therapy.

Breeders provided abundant food for the pandas to assure them “nothing is wrong,” and for those young cubs who were scared the most, breeders will play with them to ease their tense, said a director surnamed Wang in charge of animal management of the base.

"Breeders' close-distance communications will help comfort the pandas," said Wang.

There are 61 giant pandas at the base, and nearly half of them were moved here from the Wolong Natural Reserve five years ago, when 8.0-magnitude earthquake happened near the area. People in Wolong also felt the tremor this time, but no casualties of human beings and pandas were caused, said Zhang Hemin, chief of Wolong Natural Reserve.

Zuo Guangyuan, chief of the management bureau of the Fengtongzhai natural reserve, said a special team has been sent to verify the conditions of the pandas.

No dead or injured pandas had been found so far, but aftershocks and potential subsequent disasters may threaten their safety, said Zuo.