They're cute, cuddly and one of China's most instantly recognisable symbols. The humble panda is loved the world over.

They've become a tourist attraction, generating huge revenues each year. And a diplomatic tool, doled out by China to countries in exchange for favourable trade deals.

INTERACTIVE: What is the true cost of a panda?

But with efforts to boost the wild population facing numerous challenges, are pandas destined to survive only in captivity as cute national symbols?

101 East ventures deep into the mountains of northwest China and joins the search for the elusive wild panda.

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Source: Al Jazeera News