AsianScientist (Apr. 29, 2013) – A powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake that shook southwest China’s Sichuan province on April 21 traumatized its giant panda population, reported the state-run Xinhua agency.
No deaths or injuries of pandas have been reported at the Bifengxia Panda base, located 50 km away from the quake epicenter in Longmen county, Ya’an city, is home to 61 members of the endangered species. Nearly half of them were moved here from the Wolong Natural Reserve five years ago after a 8.0 magnitude quake there.
According to video footage, when the quake occurred at 8.02 a.m. Saturday, the pandas were stunned; some later climbed onto trees while others fled, said Heng Yi, a spokesman with the base.
“Those daring ones remained calm, while the timid ones suffered from shock,” he said, adding the pandas would need extra care and even psychological therapy.
To ease their tensions, breeders provided an ample supply of food for the pandas, and played with the young cubs, said a director in charge of animal management of the base.
On Tuesday, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) reported that the giant panda habitats near the epicenter of the quake suffered only minor effects from the natural disaster.
Aerial remote sensing images showed that the scale of landslides triggered by the quake in Baoxing County only caused minor damage to the Bifengxia Panda Base.
Ya’an holds about 4,700 square km of giant panda habitats, accounting for 30 percent of its total area. According to the CAS, a total of 3,693 square km, or nearly 80 percent of panda habitats in Ya’an, had been “moderately affected” by the quake.
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: The Wilky Bar Kid/Flickr/CC.
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