Just the Facts
Legend of Wolong
In Chinese, Wo long means sleeping dragon. The local Qiang people believe a giant dragon came wandering through the valley and fell in love with the beauty of the mountains. Enamored by the beauty the dragon decided to go to sleep and then never woke up.
The Wolong Panda Center was located in the Wolong Nature Reserve, which covers 200,000 hectares (494,210 acres) with elevations ranging from 1555 to 4600 meters (4,000 to 11,000 ft).
The Wolong Nature Reserve was established in 1963 to further the Chinese Government’s commitment to preserve the giant panda that is seen as a national treasure.
Before the earthquake, Wolong was the oldest and largest panda breeding center in the world.
- It was a peaceful valley home to 63 giant pandas
- There was a staff of 85 working and living in the immediate vicinity
- The bamboo forest supported the needs of the giant pandas at the center and provided a livelihood for local villagers
- The Center generated 1oo,ooo yuan ($14,623 US) in tourism
- Cub survival went from 30% to 90% following the construction of the Wolong Panda Center in 1980
After the earthquake
- One panda, Mao Mao, was killed in her enclosure. One is missing and one, Zhu Hai, died of an acute disease because the roads to the hospital were impassable.
- Massive landslides made the entire Panda Center unsafe and all pandas had to be evacuated
- State Forestry Bureau evacuated 53 pandas to Bifengxia Panda Center, 8 went to Beijing (but have since returned to Bifengxia), and other pandas went to various reserves and zoos
- Economic loss at Wolong alone was estimated at 2 billion yuan ($292,440,415 US)
- Rebuilding a new Panda Center in a safer location. Ground breaking will take place in Summer of 2009
- Replanting the bamboo forests not only for the captive pandas but also the wild pandas that are dependent on them
- Re-staff and equip the new Center