Panda Volunteering in China
December 30, 2012

I am all about free volunteering opportunities. But everything has an exception. Pandas are one of them (my mom lives in Chengdu and I swoon over pandas). By volunteering at a panda research center, you are helping to sustain the livelihood of these rare animals, which are estimated to number less than 1,600 in the world. Plus, you have ample time to watch the pandas up close.

Volunteers are needed to help preserve the future of these adorable animals. They will prepare apples, panda bread, carrots, nutritional biscuits and bamboo for the pandas. Other activities include cleaning the panda enclosures and other areas of the panda centers, alongside general helping out when needed. Sometimes volunteers are asked to participate in research by helping to collect behavioral data or aid in providing basic medical care for the pandas.

Although they are irresistibly cute, they are not cuddly creatures. They have sharp teeth, strong jaws and powerful claws. Care must be taken to remain safe as even playful interaction can result in an injury. Also, keep in mind that since pandas eat roughly 14 hours a day and have problems digesting their food, shoveling panda waste will be a large part of your duties.

Do not do the 1-day volunteer gig at the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. It only lasts seven hours, with four of the hours spent in a training session and a 1.5 hour lunch. The cost for a single person is roughly $228 (1420 RMB), not including meals. Taking a “panda hug” photo (holding the pandas) results in an additional fee.

Bifengxia Panda Conservation Base appears to be the only other place offering panda volunteer programs after the Panda Research Center at Wolong National Nature Reserve was severely damaged after the 2008 earthquake (all the giant pandas were relocated). There are several tour sites that work with the conservation center to provide this opportunity. Currently there seems to be no way to book directly with Bifengxia. With that said, make sure to shop around and ask questions before deciding upon a tour agency that will fit your needs. The average price is around $1000-1500 for two weeks, including meals, accommodation, the panda program, and airport transfers.

Bifengxia Panda Conservation Base
Location: near Ya’an, China (two hours from Chengdu)
Duration: Varies, usually a minimum of two weeks
Hours: 3 days ago – how much baclofen is too much gabapentin and baclofen recrea. this forum online baclofen kopen buy baclofen online no prescription 30-40 hours a week, Monday-Friday
Cost: Varies on which tour agency you book with, but the research center’s costs appear to be $16 a day (100 RMB). Also a work uniform will need to be rented for $24 (150 RMB) a week.
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Additional tips: Do not stay at the hostel adjacent to the panda reserve. Despite the convenient location, most volunteers were unsatisfied by the condition and cleanliness of the lodgings. Stay in Ya’an and take the scenic 30 minute drive to the conservation center.

Before volunteering, you have to sign a form acknowledging the rules. One of the rules states no photography while volunteering. However, if you ask the keepers, they will probably allow you to take some photos after your daily work is done.