Beijing: Chinese vets and dentists are considering implanting three false teeth into a giant panda injured in the wilds of the northern province of Shaanxi.
The operation would help the panda, which also suffered a fractured skull, broken legs and chest injuries after an apparent fall into a ravine, to take in more nutrition and help it recover.
"With the three teeth, the giant panda will be able to eat bamboo with ease," a military hospital doctor, Li Liujin said.
The animal, found by tourists on July 1 by a river at a scenic spot near Shaanxi's Provincial Capital, Xian, had already sparked a frantic hunt for panda blood plasma for a transfusion.
A census in 2002 showed there were 1,596 wild giant pandas living across China, scattered across more than 40 nature reserves in Shaanxi, Sichuan and Gansu provinces. And in Beijing, zookeepers have drafted in a lactating whippet to feed newborn lesser pandas, also known as red pandas, after their mother was unable to produce enough milk.
The dog, described by the zoo publicity director as "beautiful, gentle and friendly" and "like a deer", will feed and live with the panda cubs for two months.
The panda has become an informal national emblem for China and is seen as a symbol of friendship and peace.