FLASH BACK FRIDAY
PANDAS! – PANDAS! – PANDAS!
Welcome to Flashback Friday – Where we share previously published articles which were reader favorites. Hope you enjoy this Friday’s article, originally published in 2013.
Like Gant Pandas? China has the market cornered!
Giant Pandas are many things. They are cute, they are furry, they are lazy. And one more thing. Giant Pandas are rare. Very rare. Giant Pandas are native only to China and their natural habitat has been diminishing for years. Estimates place their total number at only 1,600. Of those, approximately 300 are in reserves, zoos, or wildlife parks. So there are not many Giant Pandas around these days. China has sent breeding pairs to several select zoos in the United States. If you are lucky enough to visit the zoo in San Diego, Memphis, Atlanta or Washington D.C. you’ll get a chance to see, enjoy, and photograph a pair of these cute, cuddly creatures.
But if you really want to see some Pandas, there is only one place to go. Pack your bags, grab your cameras, and head for China!
That’s exactly what I did, and let me tell you I saw Pandas – lots and lots of Pandas. On my recent trip to China I spent some time at the Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu, China. Chengdu, by the way, is the capital of Sichuan China so you can enjoy some very fine and authentic Chinese Sichuan dining while in the region. Chengdu is located in South Central China, roughly 941 miles ( 1,515 kilometres ) south of Beijing – about 20 hours by train, 2 hours by airplane. (Take the plane – trust me.)
The Panda Breeding Center is located about 10 km northeast of Chungdu and can be reached by bus or taxi. It’s open from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm daily. It’s a wonderful facility providing much open and natural habitat for the Pandas. Equally nice, it is designed with a vast system of walkways which allow visitors to meander through the space and “Panda Watch.”
The goal of the center is to breed and return Pandas to the wild. So the Panda population is constantly shifting. Generally there are around 80 Pandas at the center ranging in age from newborn pups to older adults. So if you want to see Pandas – this is the place to go.
One thing I learned on my visit is that basically, Pandas are very, very, laid back and lazy creatures. They spend the vast majority of their time sleeping with occasional breaks to eat. So if you visit, it might be best to come in the morning which is feeding time. That’s when breakfast is served – – bamboo shoots. And the Pandas are even lazy in their eating habits. They will lie on their back and slowly munch one bamboo shoot after another.
These Panda guys are cute and fun to watch. And they are also very photogenic. You can burn through a lot of pixels at the center so bring a few extra memory cards for your digital cameras!
Visit the Breeding Centers Web Site for more info: Chengdu Panda Center Be patient – the site is a bit slow. The Great Firewall of China?
Pandas in China ……….. Enjoy The Adventure!
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