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Quake-hit Sichuan to Rebuild Panda's Habitat

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China's southwest quake-hit Sichuan Province will invest 600 million yuan (about US$88 million) to rehabilitate a 107,000-hectare habitat for wild giant pandas, local authorities said on Friday.

About 5 million yuan of the investment had been approved by the central government, said an official with the provincial government.

The rehabilitation plan covers 60,000 hectare of the habitat and 2,000 hectare of adjacent fields giant pandas are likely to move about, which had been destroyed by the devastating earthquake on May 12 last year. Another four hectares of new habitat will be explored, said the official.

Before the quake, 1,206 wild giant pandas, or 80 percent of the country's total number, live peacefully on reserved areas in Sichuan. No wild giant panda died during the quake, the official said.

(Xinhua News Agency September 19, 2009)

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