Construction will begin next month on a new China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center to replace the panda base at Wolong that was destroyed in last year's earthquake, according to a Xinhua report.
The new panda base will be located at Huangcaoping (黄草坪), 10 kilometers away from the Wolong (卧龙) base which itself was located 10 kilometers from the 8.0 magnitude tremor that left one panda dead, one injured and one missing. Huangcaoping is also located within the Wolong Nature Reserve.
Total investment in the new base is expected to total around 1.57 billion yuan (US$230 million), with 25 projects to receive 1.3 billion in funds coming from Hong Kong and 270 million yuan from China's forestry administration to fund 19 projects.
Additionally, construction of a panda disease control and prevention center in Dujiangyan (都江堰) will begin soon. The center, which is expected to be completed in 2010, will receive pandas from any of China's breeding bases that acquire infectious diseases.
The Wolong base, built in 1980, was home to 142 pandas – 60 percent of the global total of pandas in captivity. After the quake, most of the pandas were moved to the Bifengxia breeding base in the city of Ya'an, located to Chengdu's southwest.
Some pandas were moved out of Sichuan to other cities including Kunming, where adjusting to new surroundings and dealing with post-traumatic stress have proven difficult for the animals.
Huan Jianhua, head of the national nature reserve administration, said that Huangcaoping was chosen for its environmental and geological conditions, as well as its proximity to the Wolong base.
There are an estimated 1,590 pandas living in the wild, with most of the endangered animals in Sichuan and a small number in Gansu and Shaanxi provinces.