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Dog Will Teach Pandas to Fight
Researchers in southwestern China's Sichuan Province plan to use a police dog to help captive-bred giant pandas survive in the wild.

The first panda returned to the wild died after getting involved in a fight.

Experts are now to release the police dog and some other herbivorous animals into the living area of four giant pandas to teach them how to fight, Chengdu Daily quoted the Wolong Nature Reserve for Giant Pandas in Sichuan as saying.

The four giant pandas are candidates for the country's second project to release the animals into the wild after Xiang Xiang, a five-year-old male panda, was found dead in the snow on February 28 this year, almost 10 months after it was released into the wild, the report said.

Xiang Xiang, who had received almost two years of training, was said to have fallen from a high place after getting into a fight with wild pandas for food or territory.

Experts at Wolong said the fact that Xiang Xiang was male may have caused his death because males are usually regarded as a threat.

The location of the release may also have contributed, the report said.

Experts may release more than two female artificially-bred pandas into the wild this time as females are seen as less of a threat by their peers, the report said.

Other options were to release one or two panda couples or a mother panda with her cub or a pregnant panda, since the cub could adapt to its new environment at a younger age, the report added.

Locations for the second release may be around the Emei Mountain areas in Sichuan where pandas used to live.

(Shanghai Daily December 22, 2007)

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