Red panda Xiao Huang won't let go of her dead sister following China earthquake, video reveals

A national park near the city of Pu'er suffered extensive damage during the 6.6-magnitude quake - causing devastation for its wildlife

Adam Withnall@adamwithnall
Thursday 16 October 2014 06:48
Keepers said Xiao Huang did not want them to take her dead sister Yuan Yuan away
Keepers said Xiao Huang did not want them to take her dead sister Yuan Yuan away

In the aftermath of a powerful, shallow earthquake that struck a remote region of China last week, many expressed amazement that the region escaped so lightly.

Just a single death has been reported following the 6.6-magnitude quake in Yunnan Province’s Jinggu County – despite it being stronger than one two months earlier that killed more than 600.

Yet there has been one victim of the Jinggu incident that has touched the hearts of those in Yunnan, after video footage emerged from the red panda enclosure at Pu’er Sun River National Park.

According to local media reports, keepers awoke after the quake to find one of the animals, a female called Yuan Yuan, was missing.

They saw Yuan Yuan’s sister Xiao Huang take fruit slices off into the forest and, following her, found her trying to give it to the missing bear – who had been crushed by a falling tree.

The video, a copy of which has been viewed on more than 160,000 times, shows Xiao Huang calling out while sitting at her sister’s side.

When the keepers move Yuan Yuan’s body from under the tree and go to take it away, Xiao Huang can be seen grabbing the bag in her teeth and claws. Xinhua, China’s state news agency, commented that “netizens [have been] moved by video of a red panda not letting go of her friend killed in earthquake”.

Taking place in such a remote location, the Jinggu quake caused more logistical problems than casualties.

Xinhua said strong tremors were felt in the provincial capital, Kunming, about 360km to the northeast. It said an initial 230-member rescue team was dispatched to the quake area within two hours of its striking, while Chinese Premier Li Keqiang ordered an "all-out effort" to rescue quake victims.

Life has only just begun returning to normal, according to CCTV’s English-language edition, with most schools reopening in temporary shelters yesterday.

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