The fate of more than 100 giant pandas at a nature reserve in Gansu remained unclear yesterday, two weeks after the quake struck neighbouring Sichuan . Not a single panda has been seen by inspectors at the Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve in Gansu's Wen county, the world's biggest panda reserve, according to reserve director Li Shiren . Mr Li said the animals were easy to find before the May 12 quake. The county is about 200km from the epicentre, and suffered 111 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries during the massive tremor. The reserve is one of three nationally designated zones set aside for panda protection and was home to 102 pandas in 2003. Mr Li said the quake triggered many landslides in the reserve, and most of the roads built last year to monitor the animals were damaged. Xinhua yesterday quoted the reserve's director, Huang Huali , as saying the condition of the pandas was unclear and the staff could not risk the danger of frequent aftershocks to check on them. The quake has changed the pandas' habitat and inflicted heavy damage on their main food, bamboo. The catastrophe may also affect breeding this year because May is the peak mating season, Mr Huang said. He said the reserve would send staff to rescue the pandas as soon as conditions permitted. A team of 16 scientists studying the pandas when the quake struck reported that they heard animals panicking as rocks and trees fell during the disaster, Xinhua reported. But Mr Li said the pandas should be safe. He said the inspectors had checked the worst-hit areas and found no signs of injured pandas. Contrary to a report in the Lanzhou Morning Post yesterday saying inspectors fled the reserve immediately after the quake, Mr Li said staff did not leave until May 18, and seven field stations for the pandas had been operating since the quake. He said most of the bamboo was fine and should be able to sustain the pandas. But he admitted that the damaged roads meant it would take longer for inspectors to reach the animals' usual stamping grounds. The inspectors did not reach deep into the reserve as it would take four or five days and be very dangerous because of the frequent aftershocks, he said. The 223,000-hectare reserve was set up in 1978. It has 10 species under first-class protection, including giant pandas and golden monkeys. It is also home to 42 animals with second-class protection, and six plants under top protection, the report said. China has more than 1,590 pandas, according to a 2003 survey, and 76 per cent of them are in Sichuan. The Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Centre, which is just 30km from the May 12 quake's epicentre, is home to 63 pandas. All but one was safe and accounted for.