Beijing Eight pandas were being readied for their journey back to central China on Sunday, ending a 10-month stay at the Beijing Zoo that was extended after their nature reserve was badly damaged in last year’s massive earthquake, state television said.
CCTV showed panda keepers luring the bears into individual cages with carrot sticks and bits of steamed cornbread. The cages were strapped onto rolling platforms for loading onto a plane.
The report said the pandas would leave Beijing on Sunday evening for their new home in Sichuan province. Their former home, the world-famous Wolong reserve was nearly destroyed in the May 12 earthquake.
The pandas’ visit to the capital, which was planned before the quake, was meant to add cheer to the Olympics in August.
The pandas have been closely watched because they seemed nervous after the quake, sometimes eating and sleeping less.
CCTV said the pandas’ new home features an air-conditioned indoor area and a large outdoor area with play facilities designed to resemble their natural habitat.