Researchers have recently recovered footage of a fierce fight which erupted between two wild pandas in southwest China's Sichuan Province, with locals embarking on a mission to locate the injured panda who came off second best in the duel.
After collecting their carefully positioned infrared cameras on Monday, researchers were surprised to find rare footage had been obtained showing a pair of giant pandas engaged in a violent joust in protected area in Pingwu County, Sichuan's Mianyang City.
The remarkable fight footage showed the two rivals not only wrestling, but also clawing ferociously at each other. The brutal battle lasted for some 17 minutes, finally ending when the defeated bear left the scene with more than just his pride wounded, with the losing panda also sustaining injuries to his face.
Experts believe the dispute is likely to have been centered around a female companion.
"They were likely to be fight over courtship. But there is also another possibility that the male panda wanted to mate but the female panda hasn't ovulated yet. This could cause a fight, but it would not be as serious as it was," said Zhang Hemin, deputy director of China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas.
After watching the video footage, a patrol team formed by a group of local villagers started a mission to track down the injured panda but have yet to come across the bear so far.
"We've collected the footages in all the infrared cameras but haven't found the track of the wounded panda so far," said villager Zhong Junde.