How cute is a baby giant panda? Very cute!!!
Chengdu Travel Blog› entry 17 of 39 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.