gallery SICHUAN – Volunteering at the Giant Panda Reserve

By Tan Siew Yim

The Giant Panda Reserve Centre in Sichuan focuses on panda breeding and bamboo ecology. The Center was founded with assistance from World Wildlife Fund. It takes care of pandas in three situations: pandas brought up from captive breeding, pandas somehow dispersed from their packs, and pandas rescued from injury and have lost the ability to survive in nature.  The goal is to release the pandas into the wild.

My family signed up for to be volunteers at the Bifengxia Giant Panda Breeding Center.

At the start of our “job”, we dropped by at the “panda kindergarten” to hug the little pandas. Before entering the enclosure, we had to put on a disposable suit and sanitize ourselves before we were led into the enclosure. It was indeed a magical moment when we came face to face with the cute pandas and hugged them! The baby pandas were simply adorable; one longed to be hugged, the other started chewing my daughter’s shoes and another ran to hide. The kids and I ran wild trying to hug the adorable pandas!  Very soon, it was time to leave the enclosure (for the welfare of the little pandas, we only allowed to spend five minutes with them). Though it was really a short encounter, we spent our most memorable moment there.

We went back to the nursery to observe another baby panda that started learning how to crawl. From the windows of the intensive care unit, he looked like a stuff toy panda until he started moving! The nursery at the Center is staffed 24 hours a day 7 days a week, to care for the newborn pandas, which require feeding every three to four hours. Extensive diaries are kept on each newborn.

Very soon, we were ready for our volunteer duty.  The panda ate a mixtures of carrots, apples and bamboo cakes (specially mixed with vitamins) which we fed through the fencing of the iron cage. While the pandas were enjoying their food, we dragged bamboos onto a cart and carried them into the empty enclosures to get dinner ready; a panda feeds on about 30kg of food per day, so one can imagine how much is being passed out as waste! Of course, the job entailed cleaning up that huge amount of the waste too! I was more than happy when my kids fought over to sweep the enclosure and clean the waste up. It was hard work but really something new for the kids!

It was truly a rewarding day and though we stepped out of the Center tired, we were awarded a panda certificate and were pleased to have spent time with the cuddly animals!

By: Tan Siew Yim

Trip organized by Country Holidays.

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四川——大熊猫保护中心的志愿者活动

/ Tan Siew Yim

四川省大熊猫保护中心致力于大熊猫的繁殖和竹生态的保护。该中心在世界野生动物基金会的帮助下成立,主要关注人工繁殖的熊猫、从与熊猫集群失散的熊猫、以及受伤获救但已失去野外生存能力的熊猫,并最终将这些熊猫放生到自然界。

我的家人已报名成为碧峰峡大熊猫繁育中心的志愿者。

我们的“工作”首先就是走访“熊猫幼儿园”拥抱小熊猫。进入围栏之前,我们需穿上一次性外套,进行消毒,再由工作人员带进围栏。当我们和那些可爱的熊猫面面相视并将它们拥入怀里时,那简直就是魔幻时刻!熊猫宝宝们太有爱了,一只极渴望拥抱,另一只舔起我女儿的鞋子,还有一只躲了起来。我和孩子们到处跑,想要拥抱这些可爱的熊猫!没一会,我们就要离开围栏(为了不打扰这些小熊猫,我们只能和它们相处五分钟)。虽然时间很短暂,但是却留给了我们最难忘的记忆。

然后我们返回保育园看另外一只熊猫宝宝,它刚开始学习爬行。从特护室的窗户往里看去,它不动的时候就像是一个熊猫玩偶。繁育中心的保育园一周七天,一天二十四小时均有人员看护,照顾新生熊猫。这些熊猫宝宝每三到四个小时就需要进食,而且每个新生的熊猫都有大量的日志记录。

我们很快就准备好履行我们的志愿者义务了。我们在铁笼的围栏外给它们喂食其日常所食的由胡萝卜、苹果和竹子(特别是添加维生素的竹子)混合制作的蛋糕。熊猫们享受美食的时候,我们就把竹子装上车,运到空的围栏里,为它们准备晚餐。一只熊猫一天大概需要喂食30公斤食物,所以你可以想象一下一天会产生多少废物!当然,我们的工作还需要清理大量的废物。看着孩子们争着要打扫围栏清理废物,我异常开心。虽然工作很辛苦,但对孩子们来说也很新鲜!

虽然走出中心时我们已疲惫不堪,但这真是收益颇多的一天啊!我们得到了一张熊猫证书,而且很高兴能与那么可爱的动物度过美好时光!

文/ Tan Siew Yim

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