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Over 10 rescuers, three hours and one tranquiliser dart … that’s what it took to save a trapped panda in China

A giant panda had to be tranquillised while being rescued by police after becoming trapped below a dam at a hydroelectric power station in southwestern China.

Forestry police spotted the female panda at about 4pm on Tuesday as it stood on a steel walkway beside a river next to the dam in Sichuan province’s Wolong National Nature Reserve, Thepaper.cn reported.

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The animal fell into the river as rescuers tried to help it climb up to the top of the dam, which was four metres above the walkway, the report said.

It grew anxious as the sun began to set, so police decided to sedate it with a tranquilliser dart. They used tools to pull the animal back to the walkway and then shot a dart at it.

At 7pm, an hour after the panda was sedated, more than 10 officers finally managed to lift it up to the top of dam.

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The panda, which is about four years old, was safely released into the woods near the dam after it regained consciousness at 9pm, the report said.

Pandas can swim, but it was difficult for the animal to move in the fast-flowing river near the power station, the State Forestry Administration said on its official Weibo page after the incident.