Volunteer Experience | Environmental & Wildlife

China: Panda Care

Chengdu, China

Description

Location: Chengdu, China

Duration: 1 week placement only

Start Dates: Project is on-going, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability. Placements start each Monday

Cost: €1,045 Euros for the week – see Costs tab for further details

Includes: all food, accommodation, airport pickup, orientation, in-country support and all project related activities

Does not Include: flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations

Benefits:

  • Get very close to the amazing pandas, working with staff to help keep them fed, clean and happy
  • Flexible placement, tailored according to your interests and abilities.
Costs Explained

Introduction

The panda is one of the most delightful and captivating of animals, and has long been a highly recognised symbol for wildlife conservation. Recently, the Giant Panda was downgraded from the status of endangered, but its future is still very vulnerable. Estimates place the total number of pandas in the world at only about 1600, most of these in Sichuan Province.

You’ll have plenty of time to photograph, and observe the pandas at the base, as you get to understand more about this rare and wonderful species.

Volunteers are needed to help safeguard the future of the Giant Panda in China.

Cultural Immersion

During the first week we’ll introduce you to the other volunteers staying with us; you’ll be able to spend some time getting to know them, and our co-ordinators. You’ll go for a short tour around the local village, and see the beautiful scenery that surrounds it. In the winter months, you can pick the fruits from the trees in the local fields. In the afternoon, we’ll give you an introduction to the language, and teach you some key words and phrases.

Below is a schedule to give you an idea of what the first week will be like. It is only intended to be a rough guide; every schedule can be customised according to your choices.

Schedule

The schedule below should give you an idea of what to expect on your first week in China:

Day One
We’ll introduce you to the other volunteers staying with us; you’ll be able to spend some time getting to know them, and our co-ordinators. You’ll go for a short tour around the local village, and see the beautiful scenery that surrounds it. In the winter months, you can pick the fruits from the trees in the local fields. In the afternoon, we’ll give you an introduction to the language, and teach you some key words and phrases.

Day Two
The day begins with breakfast, and a briefing on the details of your adventure. You’ll visit Lianhua Town, and we’ll help you register at the local police station; it’s required that all foreigners explain where they intend to live during their stay in China.

You’ll visit the local fair, and we’ll show you where the convenience store is. Here, you’ll be able to buy any supplies you might need, and even pick up a SIM card to use with your mobile phone. In the evening, we’ll challenge you to a game of Mahjong, and teach you about Chinese numbers.

Day Three
Breakfast today will be a little special. We’ll provide a traditional Chinese breakfast, with Gongcheng You Cha; a special local tea. We’ll introduce you to the tea ceremony, and show you how to prepare it in the traditional way.

You’ll visit the village of Hengshan, where you can climb the amazing tower, and take in the spectacular views. There is also a traditional well here so you’ll get an idea of how local people used to live.

In the evening, there’ll be a special cooking and language class. We’ll teach you the words and phrases you’ll need to go to the market and buy the ingredients. Once you have gathered your supplies, we’ll help you cook your own dinner. We won’t force you to eat it!

Day Four
Your day will start with another language lesson, and a discussion about your cultural experiences so far. You’ll have the chance to do some origami, and try your hand at Chinese calligraphy.

In the afternoon, you’ll visit Hongyan Village, where you can enjoy a relaxing walk among the forest of fruit trees. You might choose to walk to the Fengyu bridge to enjoy the architecture; or row a boat along the beautiful river.

Day Five
After another language class in the morning, you’ll have lunch in Gongcheng County, where you can try the local food. You’ll visit a primary school, and be introduced to the Chinese education system. Later on, you’ll have the chance to visit a Confucian temple, and a Guangong temple in Gongcheng Town. There’s also a beautiful river here that you can walk along.

Day Six, and Seven
We’ll finish the week with some group discussions, and you’ll get a chance to share your experiences with your fellow adventurers. After that, you’re free to enjoy your weekend however you choose.

Book with Confidence

Daily Life

You’ll work closely with the staff at the Panda Base to prepare food and feed the pandas; clean the enclosures; and help ensure this is a safe and secure environment for the animals. We might occasionally ask you to help provide medical care to the Pandas, and assist in research projects.

Once you have registered at the Panda reserve, and collected your uniform and staff card, you’ll meet your trainer. You’ll work closely together during your stay, and they’ll help give you an idea of what a job in conservation is like. For your own safety, you must follow their instructions at all times. If you are having trouble following your schedule, they’ll be happy to help you with it.

We’ll provide you with orientation DVDs, to help you understand more about the project, and take you on a tour of the Panda Base.

Most of the work will involve providing basic care for the pandas; preparing food, feeding the animals, and cleaning the enclosures. You might be asked to help the trainers to collect behavioural data on the animals; or help out with the various research, and veterinary projects at the base.

We’ll offer free Chinese classes every day from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.; you don’t have to attend, but we hope they’ll help you start to feel at home in this wonderful country.

Your evenings and weekends will provide you with free time, which you can use to explore the region, or simply relax. There’s a regular bus service from the nearby Ya’an City that will take you to Chengdu, if you wish to tour the city, and do some shopping.

The forests in the area are extremely dense and wild; walking into them alone can be dangerous, as you can easily get lost. If you want to explore, we suggest that you find a group with an experienced guide, or ask someone at the Panda Base; we’ll be happy to help organise an excursion.

Fundraising Help

Travel & Accom.

You will be met at Chengdu airport and transported to the project location by bus.

During your visit, you’ll stay in the hotel within the nature reserve next to the Panda Base. It’s run by local people, and serves local, spicy food. You’ll share a room with two to four other people, but every room has a bathroom attached to it, and can provide hot water 24 hours a day. All your meals will be provided for you.

There are a few small shops in and around the panda base; and a bar and common room opposite the hotel, where you can relax, watch TV, and share your experiences with other adventurers.

The Panda Base can provide free Internet access during working hours; but when you need money, or wish to use an Internet cafe, you’ll have to make the short trip into Ya’an City. If you need medical assistance at any time, there’s a clinic at the base, and several good hospitals in Ya’an.

Premium Support Upgrade

Requirements

  • Minimum age 18.
  • No previous skills are necessary, however you will need to speak English at a native or near-native level.
  • Minimum & maximum 1 week commitment
  • Necessary vaccinations.
  • Necessary flights & visas.
  • Full travel & medical insurance.

Costs

€1045 Euros for the week

* Check the latest currency conversions with xe.com
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee.
*** Placements are confirmed with a 1 week deposit

What’s Included:

Project Fee includes food, accommodation, airport pickup, orientation, in-country support and project activities.

Private rooms are available for an additional €100 per week.

What’s not included:

Flights, insurance, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

Premium Support Upgrade

We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.

We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

Note: Map coordinates are approximate


Past Participants Say

Valerie Frazier
Valerie Frazier
Nomad Rating
Project Impact
Support
Accommodation
Food
Extra Activities
Safety
  "So here is some detail of the work we did. I will be open - it is not glamorous but it is so worth it. It is a very physical job. We start work about 8:40. The keeper typically has started getting the pandas inside so we can clean the outside. We scoop up all the panda poo we can find. A nice walk thru their outside enclosure. :) We also...
Read More