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Volunteering in China – Majestic Pandas

Volunteer in China – Giant Panda Center
Bifengxia, China

I was slightly apprehensive as I arrived in Chengdu airport, ahead of my three weeks of volunteering with pandas at the Giant Panda Center. My nerves were quickly settled as I was greeted at the airport by my volunteer leader. After a few days sight seeing, myself and five others, were ready to start our volunteering.

GoEco volunteers see city sights on the first night
Sightseeing on the first night

A two hour bus ride took us to the panda base nestled in the mountainous area of Ya’an. After settling into our accommodation the tour leaders took us to the panda base. We were given a brief introduction of the tasks and fitted with our uniforms! After a night of icebreakers our volunteer group was getting closer than ever, we settled in for an early night, excited to face the pandas. We walked through the panda base to the keepers office, the path lined with towering bamboo. I was assigned a keeper and followed him to the pandas. As I approached the enclosure I couldn’t see a single panda – my keeper noticed my gazing and pointed to a wooden house in the enclosure. There a panda lay sleeping!

A GoEco volunteer looking out from the panda base
Beautiful scenery of the Panda base

The keeper called the pandas into their separate cages so we could clean their outside areas and bring their morning bamboo. We were sweating after an hour of carrying kilos of bamboo into their enclosures! This was our daily routine – cleaning and bamboo carrying in the mornings and after preparing their food, three feedings throughout the day.

A GoEco volunteer feeds Susan the panda
Feeding Susan!

Feeding the pandas was an unforgettable experience. The pandas would rush to the entrance of the cage and lumber up to the front. My favorite panda, Susan, would hold a bar for support as she ate. They were so receptive and excited to get their special panda bread and carrots, relishing every bite.

A GoEco volunteer feeds Susan a carrot
Susan enjoying her morning carrot

It was incredible seeing how these majestic creatures had such unique personalities and quirks. My three weeks came to an end all too quickly.

GoEco volunteers make dumplings together
Dumpling making – every night we would have two activities, this was my favorite.

Working with the pandas was such a rewarding experience and I hope many more continue to aid the survival of these unique creatures. – Amelia

Get involved and begin the journey of your lifetime! Click here for more details about the Giant Panda Center!

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