Ya’an, the city close to the epicentre of Saturday’s earthquake in Sichuan, is home to one China’s most important panda reserves.
The Bifengxia research base, part of the sprawling Wolong National Nature Reserve, houses 60 giant pandas.
None of the endangered animals — considered a national treasure in China — were killed or injured by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake, Zhang Hemin, chief of Wolong’s administrative bureau, told The China Daily.
The previous major earthquake that hit Sichuan — the 2008 8.0-magnitude quake that hit the city of Wenchuan — also happened to strike the heart of a panda reserve. The Wolong reserve, which houses some 150 giant pandas, is located near Wenchuan.
Several pandas from Wolong were moved to Bifengxia after the devastating 2008 earthquake. Zhang Guiquan of the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda told the newspaper “a few pandas were frightened by the quake”.
“Some climbed trees and others became noticeably restless,” he said. “It will take days or maybe a week before they calm down.”
Mr. Zhang Hemin, of the Wolong bureau, said as most of the pandas had experienced the 2008 earthquake, Saturday’s tremors would not have been entirely unfamiliar.
“Now the pandas have calmed down”, he was quoted as saying by The Global Times on Sunday.