How to Volunteer with Pandas in Chengdu
If you are an animal lover and a traveller, one of the most fulfilling things to do would be to sign up for the volunteer program for Giant Pandas in Chengdu. The whole program is a learning experience. You'll be dealing with researchers and animal psychologists; thus, you will learn all there is to know about the cute pandas at Panda Base!
About the reserve
The pandas that were once going extinct are now classed from endangered to vulnerable animal species. Thanks to the effort of those at the Panda Base, rehabilitating these cute creatures and sending them back to the wild, there are now an estimated amount of 1800 pandas out there living wild and free.
There are several organisations that aid the protection of Pandas here. You can get involved too by taking the Panda volunteer program. During this period of time, you will be involved in feeding, cleaning and helping researchers study the behavioural patterns of these lovable creatures. If you are serious about going through with volunteering, then you must look into a few questions before you throw in your money to book that ticket to China.
Will you really be interacting with pandas?
The reason you are signing up for a volunteer program and paying good money is to actually have some close interactions with the animal. So, you'll have to head to central China, this is where the pandas' home is. After travelling all that way make sure that you definitely get to have a closer encounter with the creatures. A few places, even though they call it a volunteer program just take you on a brief touristy tour of the place and that's that. But it isn't what you are looking for, several good organisations offer a proper program with special time slots allocated for volunteers. So, pick wisely.
What about training?
Well, if you are going to be spending time with these animals, you'll certainly need some advice on how to handle them so that both you and the pandas can have a productive time together. Also, organisations that usually organise such activities are concerned about how the pandas are taken care of and therefore, will definitely provide the training necessary if you will be dealing with pandas.
Also, make sure that you can work under professional supervision which will ensure that what you are doing is right. Also, since you are dealing with animals from the wild you will need to be safe as well. With your training complete you can be ready for some panda cuddles.
It's not just about being with pandas
There is so much work to be done at the base from looking after the pandas to doing paperwork and so on. Part of your duties will be to organise data and other office work and even re-planting the bamboo forests to create the home the pandas need. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that you will not be interacting with the animals the entire time. Don't worry, your background and expertise will be looked into before the work is allocated to you.
What's the volunteer fee for?
Usually, your volunteer fee would be for food, lodging and uniforms. The return ticket and visa will not be included in this cost. Also, if there is extra charged, an ethical organisation will come forward and keep you informed that your extra charge will be put towards the upkeep of the sanctuary. A few places charge an extra fee for photo options with the pandas as well.
You can also opt to stay at your own Chengdu accommodation without going through the organisers. Hotels like Citadines South Chengdu are available in the plenty with modern facilities at your fingertips.