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Chester Zoo (UK) gives extra funding to Quake hit Pandas


CHESTER Zoo has come to the aid of a vital Chinese research base which was hit by a devastating earthquake.
The Sichuan Province area of China was left shattered by a huge earthquake in May this year; the largest natural disaster in the country in nearly 60 years.

Measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, the earthquake led to the deaths of more than 70,000 ADVERTISEMENT people.

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, which has been financially supported by Chester Zoo for a number of years, suffered some structural damage.

Tourism in the area has also dropped away and the panda breeding base faces a substantial drop in income as a result.

Chester Zoo, a conservation charity, has now come to the aid of the centre and made a £15,000 donation to fund a valuable community education project.

Roger Wilkinson, the zoo's head of Conservation and Science, said: "We have a longstanding relationship with the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base and were obviously distressed to hear of the devastating effects of the earthquake.

"Fortunately, the centre did not suffer any loss of human or animal life but have obviously suffered in other ways as a result.

"By making a donation to the centre we can help as they try to rebuild after May's terrible events. We have been a committed supporter of the centre in previous years and have previously funded staff training and collaborative research."

The new Chester Zoo-funded project will be community-based with the Panda Base seeking to develop a special one-year programme to train parents and teachers to create enjoyable activities for children and to create a healthy learning environment.

Roger added: "Many homes in the area surrounding the base have been destroyed and people face an uncertain times.

"This, understandably, can give rise to conflict and tension and cause difficulties within communities. We hope that this education project will help mitigate against some of those problems."

The community projects will be run at Longxi Hongkou National Nature Reserve, Baishuihe National Nature Reserve, Qianfoshan Provincial Nature Reserve and Xiaohegou Provincial Natural Reserve. The projects will also focus on ecosystem conservation to restore and protect the environment in affected areas.