It took a long time for giant panda Zhang Xiang to take her first tentative steps to freedom.

Released into the wild in China, the female was surrounded by keepers dressed in specially-scented panda costumes to avoid scaring her.

Zhang Xiang was raised in captivity and was taught to survive in the wild at a nature reserve training base.

She is the third panda in seven years to be released into the wild in China.

The country's reintroduction program has suffered setbacks - of 10 pandas freed since 1983, only two remain.

Six were brought back to the breeding center after severe weight loss, one was found dead and the 10th is also believed to be dead.


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