China has started the construction of a unique center that will provide some 40 giant pandas with comfortable accommodation and exclusive treatment, Chinese media reported on Thursday.
The facility, which is expected to be completed by 2012, will cover an area of about 51 hectares in China’s southwest Sichuan province and will cost 210 million yuan ($32 million). The Hong Kong government will provide 130 million yuan for the project, with the rest of the funding coming from private investors.
The center’s mission will be rescuing giant pandas living the wild and carrying out research on disease prevention and control for the endangered species, said Zhang Hemin, chief of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.
“The facility will not only separate pandas’ breeding and disease treatment, but also prevent cross infections of pandas and human beings, because we sometimes have to take them to human hospitals for treatment,” Zhang added.
Giant pandas are among the world’s most endangered species. Over the last 20 years Chinese zoologists have raised 315 pandas in captivity.
Statistics from the State Forestry Administration show that about 1,600 pandas live in the wild, with another 300 living in zoos around the world.
BEIJING, May 5 (RIA Novosti)