Pandas In China Bounce Back From Disaster

Ten giant panda cubs, once in grave danger, are now thriving.

ByABC News
January 5, 2010, 3:54 PM

Jan. 5, 20109— -- The story on Chinese state television tonight is a happy one about some of the cutest survivors you'll ever see. Ten giant panda cubs, six girls and four boys have arrived in Shanghai for the World Expo.

It's a remarkably different sight from the ones just nineteen months ago, right after the earthquake that devastated parts of China and left these pandas terrified.

Pandas Shaken and Scared

Dozens of pandas at the Wolong Panda Reserve in Wenchuan County, were spooked and shaken when a devastating earthquake hit on May 12, 2008. Wechuan County is located at the epicenter of where the quake hit with a magnitude of 7.9. For days afterward, handlers said the pandas would not eat and the tiniest noise would cause them to scare and scatter.

There are pictures of them huddled atop snapped tree trunks and peering through the leaves in fear.

Six pandas actually ran away right after the earthquake after the walls around the Wolong Reserve collapsed. But those who were rescued were brought to the sanctuary to heal. At first, they clung to each other, afraid even to answer the calls of their caretakers, who had to coax them out of the trees.

A Strong Recovery

There are only 1,600 pandas in the world today; 1,400 of those live in the region affected by the earthquake. But those at the sanctuary are breeding, defying the low fertility rate among pandas

Today, those ten pandas, once afraid and in danger, are thriving and their frisky nature has clearly made a comeback from those days right after the earthquake.

Now, they stroll under the tree trunks instead of clutching them in fear, as joyful again as the caretakers who saved them.