CHENGDU, March 29 (Xinhua) -- A male lesser panda was released into the wild Friday in a nature reserve in the city of Dujiangyan, southwest China's Sichuan Province.
Lesser pandas are small, raccoon-like mammals that feed on bamboo. They are also known as "red pandas" because they have reddish-brown fur.
"It was rescued on December 20, 2017," recalled Zhu Dahai, a worker from the city's Kaida rescue center. Local villagers called the police after the panda ran onto a golf course in Qingcheng Mountain.
After a short stay at the police station, the 5-year-old panda was taken to the rescue center where he was examined and was diagnosed with parasites and intestinal inflammation.
After a year of recuperation in the center, the panda's physical indicators became normal and it met the standards of returning to the wild.
Lesser pandas are under special protection in China, though they are less known than giant pandas. China's lesser panda population has dropped dramatically since the 1950s because of human expansion into their natural habitats.
Along with the lesser panda, more than 70 rescued wildlife were also released to the wild in Longxi-Hongkou Reserve on Friday, including macaques, a black bear, owls, red-billed leiothrix and spotted doves, in a move to rebuild their wild populations.