Panda Tao Tao adjusts to life in the forest

Panda Tao Tao adjusts to life in the forest
Tao Tao.

CHINA - When Tao Tao, a 2-year-old male panda, was released into the wild on Oct 10, 2012, Zhang Hemin was worried.

Since birth, Tao Tao had been raised in captivity at Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan province, where Zhang works as the chief of the reserve's administrative bureau.

And Liziping Nature Reserve in Shimian county, where Tao Tao was expected to live all by himself, covers 14,700 hectares.

Tao Tao is not the first panda to be released into the wild in China. About seven years ago, the first endeavour by the reserve in Wolong ended in tragedy, when a panda it set free failed to survive the harsh natural environment.

Zhang faced mounting pressure as the world turned its attention on Tao Tao's release.

The effort has turned out to be a success. One year after his release, Tao Tao has adapted well to the wilderness.

"A team of animal experts and local employees at Liziping Nature Reserve found Tao Tao up a tree more than 3,000 meters above sea level on Oct 30," Zhang told China Daily.

After Tao Tao was released, the team found him several times. But in May, they could no longer trace him because the panda's GPS tag was lost.

"We attached a 500-gram GPS tag on him. Tao Tao must have felt uncomfortable with it and managed to get rid of it," Zhang said.

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