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Giant panda released into wild

China's first captive-bred giant panda to be released into the wild has been coping well in bamboo forests in the country's southwest, Chinese state television reported on Monday.
The April release of Xiang Xiang, a four-year-old male, came after nearly three years of training to toughen him up at a research institute in the mountainous province of Sichuan.

The scientists would study his choice of territory, his meals and waste, but would strictly avoid direct contact so as to help him completely shake off dependence on humans.

China had also raised about 180 giant pandas in captive breeding programs and spent $12.5 million since 2003 training them for release into the wild. Some experts, though, are guarded about their prospects.

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