China's panda population recovering years after earthquake (11 images)

In China’s mountainous Sichuan Province, a network of research centers, nature reserves, breeding facilities and wildlife sanctuaries are dedicated to saving the world's panda population. More than 75 researchers work at the Panda Research Base in Chengdu. Here is a look behind the scenes in November 2017. Photos by Stephen Shaver/UPI
Updated: Nov. 22, 2017 at 1:04 PM
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In China's mountainous Sichuan Province, a network of research centers, nature reserves, breeding facilities and wildlife sanctuaries have been established to support the vulnerable giant panda. The Chengdu facility has won prizes for its work.
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A young giant panda struggles to climb down a tree. The area experienced a large earthquake in 2008, forcing many of the sanctuaries to relocate their pandas. The base in Chengdu was not hit as bad and was able to take in eight pandas from a neighboring sanctuary, Wolong.
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Chinese and Hong Kong governments funded the relocation of the pandas affected by the earthquake. Eighteen pandas returned to Wolong base on Tuesday.
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There are an estimated 1,864 giant pandas in the wild. One issue affecting panda populations in the wild is human industrial development in nature, which decreases the quantity and quality of animal habitats.
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Some other sanctuaries in the Sichuan province have been accused of for their mistreating pandas.
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There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, though none is a panda. This is said to be because the love for the panda is fairly recent.
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Chinese people used to hunt pandas for their fur and for sport and in ancient times even feared them as monsters. That changed in 1957 when Chi-Chi, a giant panda originally moving to the United States, found his home at the London Zoo. The newly formed World Wildlife Fund, based in London, was still lacking a logo, and after falling in love with Chi-Chi they made the panda its official logo in 1961.
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