The giant panda is a rare and beloved animal that only inhabits the six major mountain ranges in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces of China. With a population of less than 2000, the species is included on the endangered list by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and is protected by China’s Wildlife Protective Law as the special-class protected animal.
Giant pandas are appreciated and cherished by humans all over the world; their familiar black and white faces and rounded ears endearing them to children and adults alike. Because of its prominent scientific research value, endangered status, and delightful viewing value, the giant panda is considered a national treasure of China. Though small in number, giant pandas have visited many countries and served as envoys of friendship from China to the world.
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, has been the ancestral homeland to giant pandas since ancient times. Fossil records indicate pandas inhabited this area as recently as 4000 years ago. Chengdu deserves to be called “The Home of the Giant Panda” as it the metropolitan area nearest to the center of the panda’s natural habitat. Just 70 kilometers away from downtown Chengdu sits the heart of giant panda country.
At elevations from 350m to 5600m above sea level, it is the only place with both wild and captive giant pandas in the world. So if you have a chance to get to Sichuan province, please don’t forget to take a panda tour during your Chengdu tour.
Places to see Pandas in Sichuan, China
Chengdu Panda Base
The Chengdu Panda Base is a well-known institution for the preservation of endangered wildlife, integrating scientific research and breeding of giant pandas, conservation education, tourism education, and panda cultural events. The official name is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. In order to rescue and protect the endangered giant panda species, the Base was established in March 1987. The Base’s geographic location and excellent technological and professional resources allow it to carry out the ex-situ (off-site) conservation efforts and to improve the artificial reproduction procedures to increase the giant panda population. Now it has become a business card for Chengdu tourism, attracting and receiving a great number of tourists every day, and has been crowned as the “City Home of Giant Panda” by both Chinese and foreign tourists.
Dujiangyan Panda Base
Dujiangyan Panda Base (also known as “Panda Paradise”) is located in the city of Qingchengshan, 18 km from the urban area, Qingcheng Mountain (Taoist holy land) to the north and Jiezi Ancient Town to the south. China Giant Panda Conservation Research Center Dujiangyan base covers an area of about 760 acres, with a total construction area of about 12542 square meters.
According to the function it is divided into six areas: the giant panda rescue and quarantine area, the giant panda disease prevention and control area, the giant panda rehabilitation and training feeding area, public reception and education area, natural vegetation area and office and logistics service area.
At present, the Panda Park lives nearly 30 giant pandas, most of them are “returnees”, including many “star of cute world”, such as “Taishan”, born in Washington and triggering the “panda fever” in United States, and the prototype of “Panpan”, one of the Beijing Asian Games mascots, and so on.
Bifengxia Panda Base
Bifengxia Panda Base is a branch institute of Wolong China Conservation Giant Panda Research Center. Previously, Bifeng Panda Base shared the part of the habitat of panda of Wolong, so there were many pandas. But now, the number of panda drops, with only nearly 20 for everyone to watch. However, although the number of Panda at the base is not many, after all, the park is in a scenic area of the A-level, so there are plenty of places to appreciate and funs to have.
Next to the Base, there is a wild zoo, natural scenic area, and a little far away also the ancient town. So it is very suitable for weekend trips.
Wolong Panda Base
Sichuan Wolong National Nature Reserve, founded in 1963, is the earliest established and the largest habitat to protect the giant panda and alpine forest ecosystem, which was approved by the World Heritage Convention in July 2006 for inclusion in the World Natural Heritage List.
Wolong Panda Base is one of the few remaining panda habitats on Earth, and it has giant panda research centers and breeding grounds. You can find many pandas live a free happy life there and you can even take picture with pandas at the cost of 100 RMB or so. Chengdu to Wolong takes 3 hour by car. Travelers can take the intercity bus from Chengdu to Xiaojin County and halfway get off at Wolong.
How to Do a Panda Volunteer Job
What is Panda Volunteer Job
Giant Panda Volunteer Job is the chance provided for these giant panda enthusiast who want to involve in the protection of the giant panda and to experience the feeding management, caring and scientific research of giant pandas.
Giant panda volunteer work can be divided into short-term (1-7 days), medium (8 days to half a month) and long-term work (more than half a month). And the cost (including accommodation, transportation, tour guides, work, etc.) will be self-support. Generally, the center controls the number of volunteer teams in a one-time reception to no more than 30, and the age of the volunteer should be varied from 12 to 65. Giant panda volunteer jobs also can be divided into tourism experience projects and professional participation projects.
Tourism experience project is open for common tourists doing some volunteer activities such as clean pandas’ enclosures, do feeding and so on; while professional participation project requires the documentary evidence to prove that you are professional enough to involve in research.
Where can You Join in a Panda Volunteer Job
The early giant panda volunteer activities were mainly conducted in the Wolong Nature Reserve and Wang Long protected areas. Now, this program is mainly carried out in the Wolong Nature Reserve and Dujiangyan Panda Valley.