Tibetan town captures photos of their 'panda deity'

Updated: 2015-05-24 13:47


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Tibetan town captures photos of their 'panda deity'

Discovered pandas' feces. [Photo/chinanew.com]

CHENGDU - A Tibetan town in southwest China known for panda worship and a "panda dance" said hidden cameras had recorded a wild panda there for the first time.

Photographs and video footage, taken on May 17 and 20, show an adult panda in a bamboo forest, according to the forestry office in Caodi Township in the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, Sichuan Province.

The pictures and videos are the first captured in the Tibetan town.

According to local legend, once a panda god appeared and taught local Tibetans to use a herb to cure a deadly plague.

Later on, people don panda masks, and mimic chewing bamboo and climbing trees in a millennium-old dance to scare away evil spirits and pray for blessings. The dance was included on China's intangible cultural heritage list in 2014.

It was confirmed in 2013 that at least seven wild pandas still live in the town after panda feces were found. This led to the installation of the infrared cameras.

Giant pandas are one of the world's most endangered species. About 1,600 live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, while more than 300 live in captivity.

Caodi is located near the scenic Jiuzhaigou Valley, a World Heritage site, and has a natural reserve for endangered species including pandas and snub-nosed monkeys.