Panda Conservation in China

Chengdu, China

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15 people
7 days
Code: 50
Activity and Adventure, Volunteering Abroad
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You’ll be joining us at the Bifengxia Giant Panda base, a branch of the China Conservation & Research Center for the Giant Panda and one of the largest of its kind. It started working in 2003 and suddenly grew in 2008 when Pandas were relocated here from Wolong Panda base, which was devastated in an earthquake that year.

But since this move, the panda population here has more than doubled – which is an amazing achievement. A big share of pandas which you see anywhere in the world has originally come from this panda reserve! The panda base is now looking to releasing the panda into the wild, fulfilling its long term ambition.

What will you get up to?

You will be involved in working about 4-6 hours a day side by side with panda caretakers by preparing food for the pandas such as apples, panda bread, carrots – and of course their favourite – bamboo, providing them food you have put together, cleaning their enclosures and ensuring they are secure in their environment.

Please note: The keepers usually feed the Panda twice in the afternoon. However, this would depend on the individual condition of each Giant Panda and also other circumstances. We cannot guarantee the feeding times and also cannot ensure that every participant would be able to feed a Panda. Feeding tasks are assigned exclusively by the keepers.

Occasionally, you might also be asked to conduct some research of the panda’s habits and medical health so that we may extend our knowledge and experience in caring for this highly endangered species.

As a participant in this special program, you will also have the luxury of being able to walk around the panda reserve, something other visitors usually have to pay for. You’ll be able to see the panda nursery (approx. July to September), animal rescue, educational facilities, and much more. But please do not wander too far into the forest, and make sure to strictly obey the panda caretaker’s directions at all times for the panda’s safety as well as your own safety!

You will be required to be committed to your work, but let the panda caretaker or coordinator know if you cannot keep to the schedule ahead of time and you’ll have a great time with these incredible, beautiful creatures.

But remember: Pandas are wild animals and naturally lazy and and will need some time to relax on their own!

That’s why we offer plenty of Chinese lessons & cultural activities during their resting times, which you can take part in at your leisure. Some activities that you will take part in are:

  • Chinese language lessons (Daily 16:00-18:00 upon request)
  • Mahjong (Chinese chess)
  • Chinese calligraphy
  • Papercraft
  • Dumpling making
  • And more!

***Take note that the duration of this program is limited to one week bookings only***

Please note this trip may require you to purchase a cultural experience week with it. Click Here to find the relevant cultural experience week based on the country where this trip operates in.

During 2017

This program starts every week.

During 2018

This program starts every week.

Aims & Objectives
  • Give you practical, hands-on experience in animal conservation
  • Assist the program and its staff with your efforts
  • Give you the chance to learn about, and bond with the Pandas
Schedule
Monday

Chengdu

  • Breakfast
  • Visit Chengdu’s Panda Breeding Center
  • Lunch
  • A walking tour through the Chengdu City, visit the Tianfu Square, People’s park and the famous ancient pedestrian street of Kuan-zhai Alley
  • Welcome Dinner at a local hotpot restaurant
Tuesday

Panda Reserve

  • Breakfast
  • Transfer to the Panda reserve (approx. 3 hours by public bus)
  • Lunch at the Panda Reserve Hostel
  • Orientation: Meet the team of the Panda Reserve and introduce yourself. Understand the rules and regulations, Read and sign the security agreements, watch a safety training video. Get the working manuals and assignments as well as information about the tasks you will carry out during the next days.
  • Registration followed by issue of uniforms, participant card etc.
  • Form working groups. Each group will then elect a ‘Group Leader’
  • Dinner
  • Chinese lesson (optional)
Wednesday

Panda Reserve

08:00

  • Breakfast

08:40- 12:00

  • Meet at the Gate of the Panda base at 8:40. A staff member will lead your group to your respective places of work.
  • You should finish your tasks under the Panda keepers’ guidance, such as cleaning the Panda house and feeding the Panda. Tasks are decided on by the Panda keepers
  • During the break, you should fill in the form “My Panda and I”.

12:00 - 14:00

  • After completing the morning tasks, meet at the participant service center
  • At 12:20 staff will lead you to the Canteen for Lunch
  • After Lunch, you will return to the participant service center. You can take a rest or choose to watch a documentary about the Giant Panda.

14:00 – 15:00

  • Split into groups and make Panda cake in turns. Panda cake is a form of food for Pandas prepared from fresh ingredients.

15:00 – 16:00

  • Free time, you can proceed to complete the assignments if any or assist the staff if required

16:00

  • Finish your tasks for the day and have free time

17:00 – 18:00

  • Free time or join in to making dumplings. Learn the secret behind tasty Chinese dumplings.

18:00

  • Dinner

19:00

  • Free time. Optionally you can watch some “Panda Videos” or take a rest.
Thursday

Panda Reserve

08:00

  • Breakfast

09:00-12:00

  • If there’s 10 or more participants: Support the Panda reserve staff in simple research activities. These vary depending on need.
  • If there’s less than 10 participants: Prepare food for the Pandas and feed them.

12:00-13:30

  • A short break, then meet at the participant service center
  • At 12:20 staff will lead you to the canteen for lunch
  • Post Lunch, return to the service center and choose to take rest or continue to watch a documentary about the Giant Panda.

13:30-16:00

  • Return to where you worked the day before and feed the Panda under the keepers’ guidance.
  • During the break please complete the “My Panda and I” form and any other related assignments.

16:00

  • Complete your tasks for the day

17:00 – 18:00

  • Free time or join our Chinese Calligraphy lessons. Learn the technique of drawing beautiful Chinese characters on paper.

18:00

  • Dinner

19:00

  • Free time or you can spend your evening learning how to play Mahjong and have fun challenging your opponents. There is no doubt that once you get hooked on Mahjong it’s difficult to let go of it.
Friday

Panda Reserve

09:00-12:00

  • If there’s 10 or more participants: The Giant Pandas eats between 10 and 20 kilos of bamboo per day. Support the staff to plant more of it to ensure there’s enough food.
  • If there’s less than 10 participants: Prepare food for the Pandas and feed them.

12:00-13:30

  • A short break, then meet at the participant service center
  • At 12:20 staff will lead you to the canteen for lunch
  • Post lunch, return to the service center and choose to take rest or continue to watch a documentary about the Giant Panda.

13:30-15:00

  • Return to where you worked the day before and feed the Panda under the keepers’ guidance.

15:00 – 16:00

  • Your time at the Panda base is over. Return your work uniform, participant card and gloves at the service center and also submit the "My panda and I " form.
  • Summary meeting: Share your work experience with the others. Thereafter, the staff will issue certificates to everybody. Later, you can leave a message on the “Love wall”.
  • All the participants and staff take a photo in front of the service center. Later the photo will be sent to you by email.

17:00

  • Free time. Optionally we arrange a visit to a local temple (Bifeng Temple).
  • If you need to return to Chengdu early, e.g. for catching your flight on Saturday morning, now is the time. Our coordinator can help arrange your bus and a hostel in Chengdu at your cost.

18:00

  • Dinner

19:00

  • You can choose to end your last day of stay at the Panda Base with a taste of Chinese cinema, watch a Chinese movie together at the activity room. Or you can choose to pack your things and get enough rest before your return journey.
Saturday

Chengdu

  • After breakfast around 8:30 you will be transferred to Chengdu city or airport. If you decide to leave at a different time you will need to arrange and pay your own transport.
  • If this is the last week of your program (around Chengdu) it’s time for you to say goodbye. You will arrive at the airport around noon. Late afternoon flights are recommended to be on time!
  • Otherwise stay in Chengdu to connect to your next program.

This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Participant Criteria & Requirements
Standard Requirements

Minimum age:                12

Maximum age:                60

Minimum English level:        Basic

CRB required:                No

Passport copy required:        No

Resume copy required:        No

Required qualification:        None

Additional Requirements

There are no further requirements for this program.

There are no further requirements for this program.

Additional Equipment
  • Mountain weather is unpredictable, so waterproof shoes/rain jacket are recommended.
  • Depending on the time of year and weather, casual and loose fitting clothes are a good choice. Also, please bring some comfortable trainers/sneakers for your leisure time and decent boots to work at the panda base.
  • Winter time may get quite cold. Warm cloths are needed.

Accommodation, food, airport pick-up (if required), full support in-country, pre-departure advice and project transport.

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