Giant panda Xi Wang leans against the ice to cool itself off at the Wuhan Zoo in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province. Xi Wang does not know he is lounging through the 140th anniversary of the outside world’s discovery of the giant panda.
French Catholic missionary Pere Jean Pierre Armand David introduced the animal to the Western world after taking photographs of it in 1869 in southwest China’s Ya’an city.
This is being celebrated by a hiking group from the West China Medical School of Sichuan University in Chengdu, the provincial capital, who start tomorrow to follow the footsteps of Armand David to Ya’an, a city in western Sichuan.
The hikers are expected to arrive at the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center of the Wolong nature reserve August 25 where they will be served a delicious meal of bamboo shoots. That last bit may not be correct.
The center moved its pandas from Wolong, about 130 km northwest of Chengdu, to Bifengxia breeding base in Ya’an after the devastating earthquake in May 12 last year. A new breeding center is being built at Wolong to replace the quake-damaged habitat.
China View said about 1,590 pandas live in the wild in China, mostly in Sichuan and the northwest provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu. Another 180 have been bred in captivity, including 88 pandas in Ya’an and 56 outside Sichuan Province.