WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Today, the Giant Panda's future remains uncertain. This peaceful, bamboo-eating member of the bear family faces a number of threats. Its forest habitat, in the mountainous areas of southwest China, is fragmented and Giant Panda populations are small and isolated from each other. Meanwhile, poaching remains an ever-present threat.
Conservation efforts are being made both in the field, in creating national parks and trying to prevent further deforestation, and also by captive breeding programmes which aim to release pandas into the wild to help restore and maintain a healthy population. There are currently over 50 national parks in China that are home to wild pandas, but there are still pandas living outside these areas that are unprotected and vulnerable to further deforestation and the spread of humanity.
The Frontier-China Panda Conservation Project carries out research into all aspects of panda behaviour and aims to breed pandas and successfully release them into the wild when possible.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
After a day's introduction in Chengdu, where you will be provided with introductory talks by the sanctuary staff to familiarise yourself with your surroundings and brief you on the work you will be doing, you will make your way to the panda base in the mountains. Work will include assisting in feeding the pandas and helping with general day-to-day maintenance work - cleaning the pandas' enclosures. Giant Pandas are very strong and can be fierce, so you will not be able to handle them. You will learn about all aspects of panda life and assist the centre staff with the feeding and everyday running of the park. As well as helping prepare the pandas' food you may also have the opportunity to help the sanctuary scientists to collect valuable data about the behaviour of the pandas, which could ultimately benefit the wild populations in China. In addition to this you may be able to assist with medical examinations and breeding efforts. Tasks like these are dependent on time constraints, your own experience and qualifications and the current priorities of the panda base. Entrance fees to the park are included in your contribution.
The success of the breeding programme is crucial to the conservation of pandas in China. Founded in 1980, the staff are experienced and professional and will ensure that your experience is rewarding and unforgettable.