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How cute is a baby giant panda? Very cute!!!

Chengdu Travel Blog

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Meeting the pandas

So, what an amazing day!!


We woke up at 6am as we were being picked up at 7.20. The pandas tend to sleep during the hot part of the day and are more active during the cooler morning hours so all the tours get you there early. We were joined by two couples and drove the 10km to the base. Tip to anyone traveling in a mini people carrier in Chengdu, do not sit on the very back seats! The roads are filled with potholes and everyone drives at speed, we felt like we were in a rollercoaster ride and actually left the seat several times!


Once there our guide led us up a winding path, framed with tall bamboo that had bent towards each other to form a natural arch.

Dinner time
Our first stop was an adult enclosure, which housed a single panda, fast asleep on a wooden frame. We cooed over him for a while, then spotted movement in the tree behind him. In the enclosure behind a panda was climbing a tree. We were led round by our guide and to our delight found five sub-adult pandas very much awake and full of energy. Most were play fighting, we watched in delight as two squabbled over who got to sit on a swing, both trying to pull the other off and jump on in their place. It got the the point where both were sitting on the swing and a third was trying to pull them off! The enclosures are very well designed, lots of trees and vegetation for them to play in and explore. The others were getting on with the important task of eating. Bamboo is a very poor diet, only 20% is digested which means they have to eat for 16-18 hours a day to gain enough nurishment. The bamboo fed to the pandas here is specially grown to improve the nutrients the pandas get.
Bath time


Our next stop was the babies enclosure. These babies were about 10 months old and even more playful. There were six youngsters in the enclosure and all were playing, with a keeper in with them to make sure they didnt get into any scrapes. The enclosure had several climbing frames for them to clamber over, along with a shallow pool (pandas quite like water apparently). All the cubs were scrambling over the frames, some more graceful than others, one actually got himself stuck in the fork of two logs and it took some wiggling to free himself! The pandas are very well looked after here. The main centre is the one we visited which is called Chengdu research and breeding centre. Its aim is to improve the number of pandas in the wild, while maintaining the gene pool by captive breeding. The base has been open for over 20 years, with two other sites in nearby.

Lazy time
Unfortunately the Wolong base was virtually destroyed by the recent Sichuan earthquake. One panda and several staff were killed, some pandas escaped but shortly returned and all have since been rehomed and are receiving 'cuddle therapy' for the trauma.


Because it is Rachel's birthday soon (and she went completely gaga over them) I paid for her to hold one of the babies. She had to wear an apron and gloves so she didnt pass on any germs (the keepers have to wear them any time they deal with the pandas) and sat on a bench so the panda could be moved from the person before. The panda was perfectly content to sit there he was being handed pieces of apple to munch on and looked very relaxed. Rachel on the other hand was beaming from ear to ear. I took as many photos as I could (and a short video) before the our time was up. The pandas are rotated so that they dont spend too long being photographed but are very used to it as they have human interaction since birth.

Did you fart??


The whole experience was amazing, one never to be forgotten. To see such an endangered animal so close was truly breathtaking and anyone thinking of visiting China should make a point to come to Chengdu.


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Meeting the pandas
Meeting the pandas
Dinner time
Dinner time
Bath time
Bath time
Lazy time
Lazy time
Did you fart??
Did you fart??
Its MY swing!
Its MY swing!
Worn out
Worn out
Getting up to mischief
Getting up to mischief
Hanging around
Hanging around
All by mysellllllf
All by mysellllllf
Smile at the camera please...
Smile at the camera please...
Cheeeeeeeeeeesssseeee
Cheeeeeeeeeeesssseeee
Chengdu
photo by: spocklogic