More than a dozen giant pandas have been transferred from a damaged breeding centre at Wolong , 30km from the epicentre of the earthquake, to protect them from food shortages and collapsing buildings. Xinhua quoted Xiong Beirong, of the Sichuan forestry bureau, as saying six pandas were taken by truck yesterday from the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Centre to Yaan , about 200km away. Eight more were sent to Chengdu from Wolong on Sunday night in preparation for a flight to Beijing today as part of celebrations for the Olympic Games. The pandas were up and about at their makeshift shelter in Chengdu yesterday. Wolong officials said at least three pandas had been missing since the quake shattered the centre's boundary wall on May 12, and staff were still looking for the animals. There were 63 pandas - including the missing three, two injured, and the 14 sent to Chengdu and Yaan - at the Wolong centre when the disaster happened. Meanwhile, plans to send two pandas Beijing offered as gifts to Taipei have been called off for the time being because Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan are still stressed from the quake. Apart from safeguarding the welfare of the endangered species at the centre, staff also plan to track down hundreds of wild pandas and determine their condition. Zhang Zhihe , director of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, said yesterday he was very worried about the 1,406 pandas living in the wild. 'There is a lack of communication facilities and roads are blocked by mudslides so we have not had any news about them since May 12,' Mr Zhang said. He said many staff were killed and injured when the quake destroyed almost all the buildings at several panda conservations centres in Baishuihe, Anzihe, Longxihong, Wolong and Pingwu . Ms Xiong said staff at the Wolong centre had repaired some of the damaged panda shelters after the earthquake, but they collapsed again in the strong aftershocks. She said tonnes of bamboo shoots, apples, soybeans, eggs, milk powder and medicine had been shuttled to the centre since the quake, but they only had enough supplies for about a week. 'There is enough water now, but food is still a major problem. The pandas are in urgent need of bamboo and apples.' Mr Zhang warned that a shortage of bamboo could threaten the survival of pandas in the affected areas. 'We are going to plant bamboo in new bases around Chengdu, such as Yaan and Luoshan, to provide pandas with food in the long term.' He denied reports that pandas had recently been fed congee instead of bamboo. 'It is completely groundless and not scientific. How can we feed them congee? We have to provide pandas with food even though we human beings are suffering from hunger.'