The Panda Conservation program takes place at a reserve in Sichuan Chengdu that is dedicated to caring for all the pandas that were transferred from Wolong Panda Reserve after it was devastated by an earthquake in 2008, as well as any others that may be placed in the captivity program.
Since this transfer, the panda population at the base has more than doubled, and volunteers are vital to this growth. This program is an excellent choice for anyone with an interest in wildlife conservation, the environment or in general animal care. Since the program takes place entirely in China, you will also have an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in Chinese culture and society.
Please note that, although experience is not essential, it is important that you are able to listen to instructions and that you are willing to learn. Pay close attention to everything your program supervisor tells you and listen to the base trainer. Check out the itinerary to find out more about the project activities and about the training you will receive.
After you have completed your normal daily duties there are several activities and facilities for leisure purposes, including:
Free pass to access all areas of the Panda Reserve
Volunteer Centre – this is a general area where most volunteers will take time to relax, chat or eat ice cream!
Free Chinese language lessons from 4pm-6pm daily
You’ll be picked up from the airport and taken to your hostel. Relax, rest and recover from your journey.
After a morning of rest you will tour Chengdu City, including the local markets, parks and the ancient, famous pedestrian street of Kuan-zhai Alley. Next, visit the Business Quarter before joining the other volunteers for a welcome dinner in one of the city’s incredible restaurants.
The transfer to the panda reserve takes around 3 hours by bus, but it does provide excellent opportunities for sightseeing. Upon arrival you will have lunch at the Panda Base before spending an afternoon being briefed and introduced to the work you’ll be doing during the week. There will also be a registration process during which you will be presented with your uniform, id card, etc.
After this, there will be a guided tour of the Panda Base during which you will meet the keepers that you will help during the week. The tour will be followed by dinner at the hostel restaurant.
Wednesday – Friday
Between Wednesday and Friday you will work as an assistant to the panda keepers.
Start with an 08:00 transport to Chengdu City – this transfer can take you either to the city or to the airport depending on if you travelling more. Afternoon flights are recommended for people that are leaving. If you are extending your stay at the Panda Reserve then you can explore the local area or else travel a little further afield to see some of the other sites on offer. If you stay then you will be working Monday to Friday with the panda keepers.
Your weekends are free – during this time, volunteers can do as they please, whether that be time spent exploring or visiting landmarks or attractions. The supervisors and reserve staff are always ready and willing to offer suggestions for those volunteers who are looking for activities in the area.