A Year of Happy Pandamonium

Call it the Year of the Panda. In 2006 a record 31 pandas were born in captivity in China, triple the number in 2000. Zoo Atlanta welcomed a baby panda too: Mei Lan (Chinese for "Atlanta Beauty") was born Sept. 6. "The giant panda's safe," said Zhang Hemin, head of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.

Zhang's team plans to raise the captive-bred population from 120 to 300 within 10 years. That would guarantee the species' survival for at least 100 years, increase the number of pandas that can be reintroduced into the wild and provide...

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