New Panda Baby Center Opens In China

A new center for baby pandas opened to the public in Sichuan, Chinese State Television reported on Friday.

CCTV said young pandas that were born after the Sichuan earthquake last year have been moved to the new panda centre in Bifengxia.

The centre is now open to tourists, and is also a research centre looking at panda development, according to the reports.

The center has an intensive care unit to care for pandas born prematurely, or for those pandas born using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques, CCTV reported.

Nearly a quarter of the pandas' habitat was destroyed by last year's powerful earthquake that killed nearly 70,000 people, according to a study published in July.

Large parts of Sichuan province - where most of the world's remaining wild pandas live - were devastated by the massive 12 May quake, which sent landslides crashing into river valleys and left five (m) million people homeless.

The landslides and mudflows destroyed 23 percent of the panda's habitat in the south Min mountain region and the remaining bamboo-rich land was left fragmented, potentially threatening the pandas' way of life, said Xu Weihua, the study's lead author and an ecologist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

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