China - Giant Panda Center
Volunteers are welcome to assist in an exciting and rewarding program with giant pandas in China. Make a real impact in saving this endangered species.
|Location of Project||16 km from Ya’an City, China|
|Project Length||Min 1 week - Max 6 weeks (we recommend a stay of at least 2 weeks)|
|Volunteer Work||Handling pandas, food preparation, cleaning enclosures, and observations|
|Number of Participants||Between 5 - 10 international volunteers|
|Age||17 - 80|
|Accommodation||Shared hostel room|
|Food||3 meals a day|
|Support||Local staff and 24hr emergency support|
|Airport Transfers||Included on arrival when volunteering for 2 weeks or more - by bus|
|Travel Insurance||Comprehensive travel insurance with volunteer abroad coverage|
|Pre-Departure Kit||Full project details will be sent following registration|
|Orientation||All necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival|
What's Not Included
China is not only the most densely populated country in the world but also the oldest continuous civilization. At the forefront of technological development, China is a fusion of old and new world sentiment. With spectacular tourist attractions such as The Forbidden City, The Great Wall, Bund riverfront, and the exquisite Mandarin's Garden, China offers a vast landscape to explore. China also offers amazing cuisine, already having influenced many of its western counterparts, and a captivating cultural history. Experience the rich cultural traditions of China while exploring the breathtaking natural beauty.
About the Project
Volunteers are welcome to assist in an exciting and rewarding program with giant pandas in China. The survival of the species has been threatened in the past, so the conservation effort is of paramount importance. The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) is located in the Wolong Nature Reserve. For over 20 years the organization has worked for the preservation of the panda population and has now resolved three key problems of breeding which restricted reproduction of the panda for a long time. The current panda birth and survival rates are some of the best in the world. The panda population of the program has risen from an initial 6 animals to over 70 pandas. In 2003 the first stage of a state-of-the-art panda base was completed: a veritable panda paradise. It is divided into 6 sections: panda raising and breeding area, scientific study area, food preparing and animal hospital area, staff living area, bamboo base area, and tourist accommodation area.
You will have the opportunity to participate in Chinese lessons, Tai Chi lessons, and games of Mahjong!
Volunteer Work and Contribution
Volunteers are needed to assist in safeguarding the future of these most captivating animals. Volunteers will take part in a structured one week program which includes training on the care of pandas and guidelines for working with pandas. Volunteers will be assigned as an assistant to a trainer, who will be able to answer their questions and instruct them in the care of pandas. Some of the activities are:
- Prepare food for the pandas such as apples, panda bread, and carrots
- Chop and carry bamboo
- Clean panda enclosures
- Some observations and research
It is important to note that there is limited to no contact with the pandas, since they are very sensitive. Volunteers mainly work with the mature pandas in the reproduction facility. The reserve also has panda cub enclosures which are closed to visitors yet accessible to volunteers through viewing windows. For a contribution, it is possible to come in close contact with the young pandas for a few minutes. The pandas are friendly and the staff is very professional so there is minimal risk.
The program for volunteers coming for 1 week is Sunday to Saturday. You would meet in Chengdu on Sunday, and spend a couple of days exploring the city. You would then be driven to the Panda Reserve on Tuesday. On Saturday you would be driven back to either Chegdu or to the airport. Volunteers coming for more than a week, also spend the first 2 days in Chengdu, and then stay at the reserve until their last day in the program.
Accommodations: volunteers stay at a hostel located within the panda reserve, next to the Panda Conservation Base and surrounded by mountains. Please note that the hostel is relatively basic and is run by local villagers. Heat is expected to be installed for the winter. You will be sharing a room with another volunteer. All rooms have electric blankets and an attached bathroom with 24 hour hot water (Asian style toilets).
-- for the first 2 nights in Chengdu you will be staying at a nice hostel in a shared room.
Food: volunteers will have 3 meals day provided by the hostel restaurant. The food is typically Chinese consisting of rice, vegetables, noodles, and some meat.
Laundry: laundry service available.
Internet: available for a fee.
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province. It is a well-known city with a rich history and civilization. The province has many places of interest and is famous for its traditional arts and crafts, ethnic folklore and beautiful landscapes. The Shuangliu International Airport and the Chengdu Railway Station allow easy access for visitors to explore the region.
Past volunteers have enjoyed the following activities that this amazing area has to offer (not included in program cost, but the volunteer coordinators would be happy to help you arrange these):
- Visit Zhougong hot springs
- Mount Qingcheng is one of the most famous Taoist mountains in China
- Explore the city of Ya'an for shopping and general sight seeing
- Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Leshan Giant Buddah in Chengdu
- Walk around the ancient town of Shagli
- Min age 17
- Basic English and/or Chinese
- Good physical fitness
- Motivation to work with animals
- Full travel & medical insurance
- Immunizations (please consult your doctor)
Here's an excerpt of Natalia's experience:
Check out our Volunteer Blog at blog.goeco.org to read an experience written by a GoEco volunteer who worked at the Panda center!
"Working very closely with the panda's and learning information from the keepers about the panda's life and how difficult it is for them to breed and have babies was the best part of the project. The best moment was when we found out one of the 3 panda's I'd been working closely with was pregnant. "- Ceri, GoEco Volunteer 2010, UK