Wolong National Nature Reserve

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Wolong National Nature Reserve is a protected area located in Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, People's Republic of China. Established in 1963, the reserve covers an area of about 200,000 hectares in the Qionglai Mountains region.

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Wolong National Nature Reserve
Wolong Panda Base

There are over 4,000 different species recorded in the reserve. Wolong National Nature Reserve houses more than 150 highly endangered giant pandas. The reserve is also a home to many other endangered species including: red pandas, golden monkeys, white-lipped deer and many precious plants. Wolong gets up to 100,000 visitors every year.

In June 1980, the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda was established at Wolong with the efforts of both World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Chinese government. To this date, researchers have conducted many breeding research projects on giant pandas and have successfully bred 66 panda cubs.

Wolong is a part of the Sichuan Province of China. From Chengdu, it is about four hours' drive. Further drive from Wolong through the Balang Shan (Balang Mountain) will take you to Jiusaigou. Wolong is a highland with almost one thousand meters above sea level. The altitude brings it high contrast of weather among the four seasons of a year.

Wolong National Nature Reserve
Wolong Panda Base

The Wolong Giant Panda Reserve Centre was one of the earliest research bases established in the early 1980s by the Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Until 1989, the Ministry of Forestry of PRC and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) formulated the long-term Giant Panda Management Plan.

Today, the Wolong Giant Panda Reserve Centre has been turned into the Giant Panda Breeding Centre focusing on research works on breeding and bamboo ecology. Much other research works are being carried out at other Reserves such as the one in Qinling Mountains of Shaanxi Province.

The Centre basically takes care of giant pandas under three situations:
A: When the giant pandas are brought up from captive breeding;
B: When the giant pandas are somehow dispersed from the group, or are rescued from injury, and have lost the ability to survive if released back to the wild;
C: When the giant panda are ready to be released back t to the wild.

Wolong National Nature Reserve
Wolong Panda Base

The Centre has two types of 'accommodations' for giant pandas - the Captive Cages and the Semi-nature Enclosures.

Most of the giant pandas in the Centre stay individually in the captive cages, which are in fact large enclosures, each consists of an in-door room and an out-door courtyard.

The semi-nature enclosures are very large wild areas but protected by border fences. Those giant pandas that will soon be released back to the wild will be put in the semi-nature enclosures for a long enough period of time for them to adapt to the natural environment. Although food has to be provided, the giant pandas will sleep there, eat there and recover their natural survival skills there until they can be released back to the wild.

"Amazing experience" :If you want to see the Pandas, don't stay only in Chengdu but go where they really belong. Wolong Nature Reserve is the place. I can't describe how amazing is that place. Pandas are in good hands, the staff is working very well and in eco-responsible manner. From Chengdu to Wolong takes around 4-5 hour drive. It's worth it!

Wolong National Nature Reserve
Wolong Panda Base

"Indulge your panda passion" : A visit to the remote Wolong Panda Reserve in the mountains of Sichuan province in China is well worth the visit just for the opportunity to play with a young panda for about 10 minutes. It costs about $200 to play with the pandas, but the money is well spent because there are darn few places where you can have this experience. Make sure you have plenty of film or media cards because you'll want to take a million pictures of these adorable critters.

The reserve is sort of like a zoo with nothing but pandas. If watching the new baby pandas in the nursery doesn't melt your heart, you don't have a heart!

There are opportunities to volunteer at the reserve for a few hours or for days. If you're there for several days, I think you get more chances to get up close and personal with the pandas. Unfortunately our tour operator didn't tell us that so we only volunteered for a few hours. Raking and picking up panda poop made a good tale to tell friends, but it didn't give us quality panda time. Try to spend more time volunteering.

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