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China tightens wildlife protection after panda deaths

Updated: Jan 10,2015 2:27 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Tourists are not allowed to approach protected wildlife after two pandas died of a measle-like virus, the State Forestry Administration said on Jan 9.

Local departments should step up disease prevention among rare animals as winter and spring will see high incidences of bird flu and canine distemper virus (CDV), the administration said.

Physical checkups for personnel taking care of rare animals should be stepped up and those with pets at home should reduce their contact with protected animals.

Two pandas have died in northwest China’s Shaanxi province, local authorities confirmed earlier.

An eight-year-old named Da Bao developed a twitch after being infected with CDV, a viral disease that affects a wide variety of animals including dogs, primates and large cats, on Dec 24. Da Bao died on the afternoon of Jan 4 from heart failure and lung edema.

Another panda, eight-year-old Cheng Cheng, died on Dec 9, 2014.

Two other pandas are ill, with one in a critical condition, and four others have fever and are quarantined for further diagnosis.