Chengdu Giant Panda May 2017

Giant Panda Breeding Research Base is a must when visiting Chengdu.  It is the closest panda base to the city.  You will see many pandas ranging from cubs to adults playing, eating, and just relaxing inside the enclosures.  If you want to have your photo taken cuddling a panda, then you must head to Dujiangyan Panda Base.  There are also Red Pandas here.  Try to come in the mornings because we were told that the pandas tend to sleep in the afternoon.  This Panada Research Base was founded in 1987 when they rescued 6 giant pandas from the wild.  In total, there are about 2,000 giant pandas left and most of which are distributed within Sichuan province.  The Panda base focuses on breeding, researching, and educating the public about these endangered creatures.

DSCF4071The giant panda is a bear native to south central China and their diet is over 99% bamboo.


DSCF4054There are over 200 pandas living in captivity and about another 2,000 or so living in the wild.



DSCF4107When it gets too hot, the pandas stay inside their air conditioned enclosures.

DSCF4155Relaxing inside the air conditioned enclosure.


DSCF4090Typically, giant pandas live around 20 years in the wild and around 30 years in captivity.  The oldest giant panda ever in captivity, a female named Jia Jia, died at the age of 38 in 2016.

DSCF4135It looks crowded but it’s actually not too bad.



DSCF4138The red panda is also native to this area of China.

DSCF4141Red pandas feed mainly on bamboo, but also eat fruits, eggs, insects, and birds.

DSCF4149The red panda is an endangered species mainly because of habitat loss and poaching.

In order to get your photo taken with a giant panda, you have to head to one of the other bases.  We went to the Dujiangyan Panda Base which is a newer panda base outside central Chengdu near Mount Qingcheng.  You can get your photo taken here with an under 2-year-old panda and only a limited number of visitors are allowed to take pictures with the panda each day.  The cost is RMB1,800 each for about 15 seconds next to the panda while it chomps on bamboo.  The fee is said to be a donation to help panda research and conservation.  We were told that only foreigners have the opportunity to have their photos taken with the panda.  We were given badges and had to put on blue overalls and wear plastic gloves for the photo.  Truth be told, I was a bit nervous sitting next to this 160 pound animal with sharp claws, but at the same time, it was such a privilege.  There is also a half-day panda keeper program where you clean their enclosures, prepare their food, and feed them.  Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to participate.

IMG_20170520_125255_707Ni Hao! Pretending to have a conversation with my panda friend here


Visiting the pandas is definitely one of the highlights of my trip to Chengdu.  Definitely do it if you are in the area!  Stay tuned for more posts on my trip to Chengdu!


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