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 Pandas International Update today 7/24/08

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Posts : 188
Join date : 2008-06-04
Location : Portland Oregon, USA

PostSubject: Pandas International Update today 7/24/08   Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:53 pm

The following account of the May 12, 2008 earthquake that devastated southwest China was written by a staff member at the China Conservation & Research Center for the Giant Panda, Wolong Nature Reserve, Sichuan Province. She is of course not a native English speaker. We present her unedited version of the terror of that day. Photos provided by the China Conservation & Research Center for the Giant Panda.





When the earthquake happened, I was in my office – Panda Club. A visitor was buying a T-shirt and I was going to register. When I opened the registration book, the ground is shaking and some harsh sound came from the ground. At first, I thought it was the road roller working outside and I said to myself that the roller was too strong. But suddenly I thought our office was far away from the road, it was impossible for the road roller. It must be the earthquake. When I realized this, I told my co-worker at once "Earthquake —run!” And then I rushed out of my office. I just want to find an empty place, never noticing how strong the ground was shaking. Just getting out of the office, I found that the hill over the gate of Panda Garden fell down with big stones. It was so dangerous. I continued to rush ahead. When I just got to the shop, some of my colleagues ran to me.




At first I didn’t know why, then I found the opposite mountains were also falling down. Soil and tree branches were flying to us and would attack us. Noticing this, I turned back and ran to panda’s kitchen. On the way, I tripped down and my friend held me up. The earthquake lasted around two minutes. When it was over, I found everybody was full with soil, faces, hairs and clothes. Many people were scared, and one volunteer cried. When the earthquake calmed down, we found that some pandas in the first enclosure was shocked and ran around. And the only road to the bridge was blocked by the soil, stones and trees. We can not get out. And aftershocks were coming, mountains continuing sliding.

Some times I felt desperate because if the quake came again, we had no safe place any more and the mountains on the other side of the river must fall down and bury us. At this moment, I thought of many regrettable things. Anyway, god bless us and we were lucky. The big earthquake did not come.


When the situation became stable, our staff began to find ways to rescue our visitors and ourselves. Fortunately again, we found a path and used a lift (ladder) to get through to the bridge. When all the visitors and female staff got out, our male colleagues returned to save the pandas, never paying attention to the danger. I was totally affected. I wanted to stay with our male colleagues and save the pandas, but I knew they would not agree and maybe I would bring more trouble to them. So I stayed outside and prayed for them. All our staff are blessed by the god. No one injured. After they transferred all the pandas to safe places, they got out. And then I felt relieved.





The earthquake was very strong. However, our hospital was OK. So was our office, except a glass broken by the stone. The road from Wolong to Dujiangyan was totally damaged. And it can not get through right now. And the entry is limited. It takes 14 hours from Wolong to Chengdu, a long journey. And the road condition was not good.

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