Panda takes excursion into town in southwestern China

In this Thursday, May 31, 2018, photo, a giant panda wanders through a garden in a village in Wenchuan County in southwestern China's Sichuan province. A highly social giant panda out for a stroll has surprised and delighted residents of a town in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan. The panda was first spotted wandering among houses in Wenchuang County on Thursday, seemingly in search of food. (Chinatopix via AP)

A highly social giant panda out for a stroll has surprised and delighted residents of a town in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan

BEIJING — A highly social giant panda out for a stroll surprised and delighted residents of a town in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan.

The panda was first spotted wandering among houses in Wenchuan county on Thursday, seemingly in search of food. She strolled beside a vegetable garden, trotted across a dirt road and climbed a tree, seemingly unfazed by the attention she drew from a large group of onlookers.

Researchers at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda confirmed that the panda was Zhenzhen, an 11-year-old female raised in captivity and recently released into the wild as part of a special breeding project.

After allowing her several hours to explore, researchers returned Zhenzhen to the Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base by mid-afternoon.

"When she's in an amorous mood, we let her out of the enclosure, hoping that she will mate with wild pandas," Wu Daifu, director of the Hetaoping panda training base, said in a telephone interview with China Central Television.

Zhenzhen was set free in the Tiantaishan Area of the Wolong National Nature Reserve on March 5. Freed pandas sometimes wander into settlements near the reserve, Wu said.

Back at the panda base, Zhenzhen will be looked after by staff members optimistic that she may already be pregnant.

"We are not exactly sure whether Zhenzhen had mated with wild pandas, so we just assume she already did and we will take great care of her, hoping she will surprise us," Wu said.

China's captive breeding program is credited with bringing giant pandas back from the brink of extinction.

The rare animals are China's unofficial national mascot and live mainly in Sichuan's bamboo-covered mountains.

More than 1,800 are estimated to exist in the wild, where they are threatened chiefly with habitat loss, and around 420 others live in captivity in zoos and reserves, the majority within China.

Peaple also read these

China launches its 1st unmanned cargo spacecraft

Apr 20, 2017

China has launched its first unmanned cargo spacecraft on a mission to dock with the country's...

World stocks mixed on Trump fallout, watch G-7...

May 12, 2017

World shares mixed amid US political uncertainty and ahead of G-7 finance chiefs' meeting

China conducts demolitions at Tibetan Buddhist...

May 19, 2017

Chinese authorities in southwestern Sichuan province have evicted followers and razed scores of...

The Latest: US wants Liu to be able to choose...

Jul 13, 2017

U.S. officials want Chinese authorities to allow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and his...

Chinese president oversees military parade in...

Jul 30, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen a large-scale military parade in a show of China's...

Sign up now!

About Us

SainsKini is established to address and cover all notable science and technology discoveries made in the region and properly credit them for the whole world to acknowledge.