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Hospital surgery saves wild panda

BEIJING, June 17 (UPI) -- A panda found by Chinese villagers suffering from a deadly intestinal obstruction has been saved by surgery at a hospital, officials said.

The panda, given the name Song Ya, which means "elegant pine tree," is recovering, Xinhua, the official government news agency, reported. Doctors at the People's Hospital in Yaan City operated on the 10-year-old female June 2.

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A spokesman for the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong said Song Ya is gaining weight as her appetite returns. The panda was thin and weak when villagers in Sichuan province first saw her.

Chinese experts estimate the surviving wild population of giant pandas at 1,600 while another 300 are in zoos.

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