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BEIJING, March 3, Xinhua -- Genome sequencing has shown that red panda, the endangered furry mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China, are two different species, providing a theoretical basis for more targeted conservation efforts.

Scientists previously divided red pandas into two subspecies with the Nujiang River in southwest China's Yunnan Province as the geological boundary. Those to the east of the river were classified as the Chinese red panda, and those to the west were the Himalayan red panda. But the classification has long been debated.

In the latest study, researchers from the Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences did whole-genome sequencing on 69 red pandas. They also analyzed 49 red panda's mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited only from the mother, and the Y chromosome sequencing from 49 male red pandas.

The researchers reported in the online version of Science Advances that red pandas, based on the analysis results, fall into two genetic clusters, and the two clusters are distinct enough to be classified as two distinct species.

giant panda 3.4 Study reveals red panda may be two distinct species

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CHENGDU, January 12, Xinhua -- Canadian-born panda twins, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, flew to Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, early Sunday morning.

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CHENGDU, December 19, Xinhua -- A wild panda mother and her cub were captured by an infrared camera in a nature reserve in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the reserve said Wednesday.

giant panda 12.23 Wild panda family spotted in southwest China

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CHONGQING, December 23, Xinhua -- Two pairs of panda twins marked their half-year anniversary Sunday in a zoo in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, as they cuddled around and climbed a tree.

giant panda 12.23 4 panda cubs mark half year anniversary in SW China zoo

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CHENGDU, December 10, China daily -- China plans to release one or two giant pandas into the wild in a nature reserve in Jiangxi province, the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas said.

They will be the first giant pandas released into the wild outside Sichuan province, where 13 had been released by the end of last year.

giant panda 12.10 First pandas to be released into wild outside Sichuan

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