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Born to be wild panda dies
Body of first lab-bred panda found less than a year after release into the wild.
Last Modified: 31 May 2007 23:36 GMT

Xiang Xiang died 10 months after being
released into the wild [Reuters]

He was trained to live in the wild, but it seems he could not fit in.

Xiang Xiang, the world's first lab-bred panda, lasted less than a year living the wild life.
 
The five-year-old male was found dead on snow-covered ground on February 19, apparently after falling to his death, reports in Chinese state media said.
His body was found in a mountainous area of China's Sichuan province more than a month after scientists last picked up a trace from the global positioning tracking collar he was wearing, Xinhua news agency said.
 
The news deals a blow to China's efforts to save the endangered species.
Lessons learnt
 
"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 Centre in Wolong.
 
"The lessons we have learnt from what happened to Xiang Xiang will help us adapt and improve the project."
 
A medical examination showed the 176-pound panda died of serious injuries, suffering rib fractures and internal damage.
 
Panda experts have speculated that Xiang Xiang might have fallen after getting into a fight with the original 'residents' for food or territory, Xinhua said, quoting Li Desheng, deputy director of the Wolong centre.
 
Training
 
The animal's release came after nearly three years of training at the Wolong research centre to toughen him up for the wild.
 
Monitoring was to have continued until 2008 when the tracking device would drop off automatically after its battery ran out.
 
The giant panda is one of the world's most endangered species and is found only in China.
 
There are only thought to be about 1,600 wild pandas in the mountain forests of southwestern and central China, with more than 180 living in captivity.
Source:
Agencies
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