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China Has 312 Captive-bred Pandas

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China said on Tuesday that the number of human-bred panda has hit 312, due to breakthroughs in breeding and raising methods.

Captive-bred pandas gave birth to 38 panda cubs this year, of which 31 survived, the State Forestry Administration said.

Of the total, 17 pandas were born at Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, while 12 were born at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, also in Sichuan. The other two were born at Beijing Zoo.

In 2009, captive-bred pandas gave birth to 25 cubs, with all of them surviving.

Despite progress made in artificial propagation, China has tried to gradually release captive-bred giant pandas into the wild to preserve the ecological balance.

On Aug. 3, a giant panda named Cao Cao gave birth to a male cub in a semi-wild training base in Wolong, marking the first captive-bred panda that delivered a cub in a near-wild environment.

About 1,600 giant pandas live in China's wilderness, mostly in Sichuan and the northwestern provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu.

(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2010)

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