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Panda center due for 2010 opening

THE Wolong Giant Panda Disease Control Center, the first such facility in China, should be completed by the end of 2010, Wolong National Natural Reserve Administration Bureau head Zhang Hemin said yesterday.

The center was originally meant to be at the Wolong National Natural Reserve, and construction began in 2007. But the Wolong facility sustained severe damage in last year's Sichuan earthquake, so the disease control facility was relocated to Shiqiao Village, Qingchengshan Town in Dujiangyan City.

Work started again from scratch. Despite its new location, the center will use the Wolong name, Zhang said

The Wolong reserve, only 30 kilometers from the May 12 quake's epicenter of Wen°?chuan County, is home to giant pandas. The quake killed five staff and one panda. Fourteen of the 32 pens were destroyed. The bears were later evacuated to other breeding bases.

The center includes a lab, a veterinary hospital and 40 pens, he said.


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