Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Giant Pandas in the Chengdu Sanctuary, China

Giant Panda in Chengdu ©Solange Hando

Saving the giant panda isn't easy but in China's Sichuan province, the Chengdu Centre is dedicated to research, breeding and raising awareness on a world-wide scale.

Only 1000 pandas or so still roam the wilds of China but 100 have been successfully raised in Chengdu where they live in a semi-wild environment of hills and lakes, trees and of course bamboo. It is hoped that one day some may be released in their natural habitat.

Plenty of Space in Chengdu ©Solange Hando

Early morning is the best time to visit when giant pandas head out for breakfast before the crowds arrive or the heat starts to rise.

Enjoy and know that your entrance fee is going to a good cause for this is a non-profit organisation, funded through donations, sponsorship schemes and visits. Even if you can't afford the extra to see the newly-born in the nursery, there are vast landscaped grounds to roam around where you're sure to come face to face with fully-grown bears. You'll probably spot other wild life too, namely red pandas, monkeys and birds such as white storks or black-necked cranes.

Plenty to Eat ©Solange Hando

In Chengdu, it's a cosy life for pandas for unlike in the wild, they'll never run out of bamboo. They seem to munch for most of the daylight hours  but occasionally you'll see one or two dozing in the trees or if you're very lucky, a mother playing with her cubs.

But don't expect a lot of attention. In their large enclosures, they're far too busy getting on with their lives to take notice of visitors. Just watch and enjoy.

On a Mission in Chengdu ©Solange Hando

Along with the Great Wall  and the Terracotta Army, the Giant Panda Research and Breeding Centre has become one of China's top attractions and if you live in the UK, you can hop on a plane direct to Chengdu.

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