Three giant pandas raised at the Wolong Nature Reserve, about 30 kilometers from the epicenter of Monday's earthquake in southwest China, are missing, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) confirmed on Sunday.
The earthquake killed five staff in the Wolong reserve and left all the panda houses severely damaged, said an SFA spokesman, citing the latest report from the China Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center.
Of the total 32 panda houses, 14 were destroyed and the others were severely damaged, it said.
The report said the other 60 giant pandas raised in the reserve, including Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, the two pandas that the mainland intended to send to Taiwan, were safe.
"The first batch of bamboo, apples, and veterinary medicine for the pandas, as well as food and the tents urgently needed by the staff arrived at the Wolong Reserve on Saturday night," said spokesman Cao Qingyao.
China has more than 1,590 pandas living in the wild in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Their safety is still unknown, Xinhua had learnt from the administration.
The 7.8-magnitude quake, centered on Wenchuan County, affected many parts of the country. The death toll exceeded 32,000 nationwide as of 2:00 PM on Saturday, while 198,347 people were injured.
(Xinhua News Agency May 18, 2008)