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Thursday, 30 March, 2000, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
China to carry out panda survey

Official Chinese reports say the authorities are beginning a survey to discover exactly how many giant pandas are left in the wild.

The China Daily newspaper said the survey, conducted with the support of the World Wide Fund for Nature, will use new electronic tracking devices and a satellite positioning system to locate the animals.

Conservationists believe there are only about one-thousand pandas left, scattered throughout reserves in three western and central provinces of China, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu, although these figures are based on surveys carried out in the nineteen seventies and eighties. The giant panda is indigenous only to China.

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