Video: Panda nabbed with banana lure

updated 2/9/2010 10:44:21 AM ET 2010-02-09T15:44:21

It was like getting a cat out of a tree — Sichuan style.

Villagers in southwestern China's Sichuan province discovered a panda stranded on a steep mountain face, apparently too scared to climb down, state media reported Tuesday.

Villagers didn't dare attempt a rescue of the endangered animal but called animal conservationists and fed the panda bananas while they waited for help, the China Central Television report said.

"The panda is a national treasure, so everyone's scared to hurt it," a local forestry official was quoted as saying.

The giant panda, estimated to be about 3-4 years old, was eventually lured from behind a tree with more bananas and managed to scramble off the mountain, it said.

Only about 1,600 pandas live in the wild, mostly in Sichuan. Another 120 are in Chinese breeding facilities and zoos, and about 20 live in zoos outside China.

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