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Giant Panda Festival Opens in East China

FUZHOU, June 5 -- A giant panda cultural festival opened Tuesday in this capital of east China's Fujian Province to help increase people's awareness of the importance of protecting the animal as well as nature.

The first China Fuzhou Giant Panda Cultural festival, scheduled to last one month, is mainly designed to tell people more about the giant panda, one of the most endangered species in the world.

A publicity campaign, a meeting to celebrate the 25th birthday of a female giant panda, named Qingqing, a symposium and several other events will be staged during the festival.

Qingqing, 25, was born in southwest China's Sichuan Province and was taken to Fuzhou in 1980.

Recent surveys indicate that there are only about 1,000 giant pandas left in the wild, with 80 percent of them in Sichuan.

Experts say these animals have a very low reproductive capacity, and the female giant pandas become pregnant no more than once a year, delivering only one or two babies each time.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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