Bifengxia Giant Panda Base, Sichuen, China
Two days after the eight "Olympic Giant Pandas" returned to their home town in Sichuan, I was lucky enough to see them all at their temporary new home, the Bifengxia Panda Base.
As one of the major
hospitality programs of the Olympic Games 2008 held in Beijing, eight
giant pandas were transferred from Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve to
Beijing Zoo to meet visitors from all over the world. It was unfortunate
that Wolong was then badly damaged by the earthquake incident happened
in May 2008. While the Sichuan Government, the Hong Kong SAR Government,
and other volunteer parties are helping to rebuild the area, all pandas
rescued are now settled at Bifengxia.
HOW TO GO AND WHAT TO DO
Take a flight to Chengdu, and then a 3-hour drive to Yaan city. Bifengxia is approximately 18km north of Yaan.
Since Yaan is already developed for tourism, there are tour operators offering different packages to bring tourists to visit the Ancient City of Shangli, Donglashan Canyon, the Meng Mountain, and of course the Bifengxia Panda Base.
However, if you prefer to do it on your own, you can charter a passengers van to bring you from Chengdu to Yaan. There are several local hotels in Yaan where you can stay with affordable prices. Yaan is a small town. Restaurants and shops are within walking distance. After a day of exhausting transportation, you may consider enjoying a dinner of typical Sichuan dishes and then taking a leisure walk along the lake side, where you will see people getting together to dance or chat for the evening. In the next morning, you can get on to a local taxi to bring you to the Bifengxia Panda Base. Only a reminder that you are recommended to book your return trip with the taxi driver, so as to ensure a pick up back to your hotel.
The Panda Base is indeed a part of a zoo where you can see other animals, including some African species. Several zones are designated to house the giant pandas where visitors can see them in semi-open enclosure in close distance. Besides the Olympic pandas and other adult pandas, the Panda Kindergarten is amongst the most popular sport for visitors. There are other zones that are not opened to the general public. Those zones are reserved for breeding program, research projects, and as special rest areas for the pandas.
If you would like
to contribute to the conservation work of giant panda, you may take part
in their Panda Adoption program. Detailed information can be obtained
at their information office.
ONE LAST WORD
The Bifengxia Giant Panda Base offers you an experience of a closer encounter to giant pandas. However, while you are excitingly taking photos of the pandas, do bear in mind that the natural habitats are being threaten by human activities. That is why they are there for you to see!
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