First Panda Freed Into Wild Found Dead
A program to return captive-born giant pandas to the wild in China has suffered a serious setback with the death of a five-year-old male that was released last April.
The first captive-born giant panda ever released into the wild has been found dead in southwest China, wildlife officials announced yesterday.
The body of Xiang Xiang, a five-year-old male panda, was discovered on snow-covered ground in the bamboo forests of Sichuan Province on February 19. The news was held until experts could conduct a full examination.
The panda appears to have died from injuries it sustained in a fall after getting into a fight with wild-born males.
Released last April, Xiang Xiang was the first and only giant panda to be set free since captive breeding of the rare animals began more than 40 years ago.
Conservationists had hoped that the pioneer panda would mark the start of a successful program to