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Sichuan builds home for pandas to go wild in

WORK will begin in the first half of this year on a new wild-life breeding center for giant pandas in southwestern Sichuan Province.

The 1.35-million-square-meter center is two kilometers west of Dujiangyan City, according to a Chengdu Evening News report.

Roads through the center will be removed and bamboo planted so that the pandas can live naturally in the wild. By the end of the year up to five healthy young giant pandas will be freed in the center on a trial basis.

The cost of the center is expected to be 60 million yuan (US$8.8 million).

Ultimately the center will offer a perfect natural environment for the giant pandas from the Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding. Eighty giant pandas live at the base, and by year end there could be 100.

"The wild-life breeding center will provide space for the giant pandas, prevent infections being passed between groups and guarantee the sustainability of panda groups." said Zhang Zhihe, director of the base.

In three to five years, after it has been completed the center will be opened for tourists.


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