Beijing, May 5 (IANS) China has started constructing the first ever hospital in the world for exclusive treatment of pandas, officials said.
Construction for the new specialised centre for giant pandas began Wednesday in Dujiangyan city in southwest China's Sichuan province, Xinhua reported.
On completion, the facility will be the world's only centre for disease prevention and control for giant pandas, said Zhang Hemin, chief of the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda.
Apart from rescuing giant pandas living in the wild and carrying out research on disease prevention and control for the endangered species, the facility will also provide a comfortable residence for the aged animals, he said.
The facility will cover an area of about 51 hectares and will cost 210 million yuan (about $32 million).
The Hong Kong government will provide 130 million yuan for the project.
It is expected to be complete by the end of 2012, and will accommodate 40 pandas.
Giant pandas are among the world's most endangered species. Statistics from the State Forestry Administration show that about 1,600 pandas live in the wild, while another 300 live in captivity in zoos around the world.