Wild giant panda wanders into Shaanxi nature reserve

A wild giant panda in Yang County, northwestern China’s Shaanxi province wandered into Changqing National Nature Reserve on April 21.

After encountering the panda, a security guard named Chen Baozhong fed it some bamboo shoots he collected. A group of visitors passed by 20 minutes later and took photos with the panda. Surprisingly, the animal was neither shy nor scared when faced with such a big crowd. Nevertheless, security guards carefully maintained order and kept some distance between the visitors and the panda.

According to Chen, the panda didn’t leave immediately after it finished eating. Instead, it remained where it was and slept for about half an hour.

“This wasn’t the first time. We have seen wild pandas a few times before,” said one employee at the reserve.

Zhao Naxun, a senior engineer at the reserve, explained that April and May are the months when pandas search for bamboo shoots in low-elevation areas (1,200 meters), where humans often live. When the bamboo in higher-elevation zones (2,000 meters) becomes ripe, the pandas also go to those places, Zhao said. Pandas normally change routes when they smell human scents, but they are always easy to spot because of the loud noise they make when eating the shoots.

A total of 345 pandas currently live on the nearby Mount Qin.

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