Pandas Safe And Sound In Aftermath Of Sichuan Quake
After a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Sichuan on Tuesday, injuring 431 people, displacing another 60,000 and leaving Jiuzhaigou County looking like Mount Saint Helens post-eruption, everyone on the internet was wondering the same thing: are the pandas ok?
Fortunately, they are safe and sound, according to staff at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, which is located 400 KM from the quake's epicenter.
The bad news is this might not hold true for their wild counterparts as the tremors occurred near a major thoroughfare for wildlife, and therefore could've affected pandas in the region.
According to Xinhua:
"Panda reserves cover about 60 percent of their natural habitat and are home to 70 percent of the wild population. Most of the habitat is in Sichuan, where earthquakes and habitat fragmentation have affected breeding patterns.
Secondary disasters, such as screes and barrier lakes, also change the habitat, cut off food sources and increase risks for the wild population."
Thankfully, the earthquake wasn't nearly as devastating as it had the potential to be. China's nuclear facilities were left similarly unscathed by the disaster, although Minister Li Ganjie is closely monitoring affected areas to ensure that they don't get impacted by any aftershocks.