How to Volunteer with Giant Pandas in China
If you don’t want to just catch a glimpse of giant pandas outside the fences, you can join a volunteer program which allows you to get up close and personal with the cute pandas.
- Location of the project: three panda bases in Chengdu
- Duration: 1 day to 2 weeks or more
- Volunteer Work: help clean the panda enclosures, feed pandas, and make panda food
- Age: 12-65 years old
- Number of Volunteers: 60 per day
Where Can I Volunteer?
Now three panda bases in Chengdu offer the volunteer program: Dujiangyan Panda Base, Wolong National Nature Reserve, and Bifengxia Panda Base.
If you want to take a one-day volunteer program, Dujiangyan Panda Base is the best option. It, located about 1.5 outside of Chengdu, is the most popular location for panda volunteer program.
Wolong National Nature Reserve offers a 2-day program, and allows you to enjoy a hike in panda habitat.
For a longer-term volunteer program like over one week, you can choose Bifengxia Panda Base.
What Can I Expect in the Volunteer Program?
You will experience to be a panda keeper, and get involved with the following work:
- Clean panda enclosures
- Prepare food for the pandas
- Feed pandas at a very close distance (this is the highlight for most people)
- Break up bamboo and carry it into the panda enclosures
For the above work, there will be an expert on hand to help you when you need it.
The rest of the volunteer experience consisted of eating lunch in a staff cafeteria, watching a documentary about efforts to train pandas for release into the wild, and wandering around the panda base to watch pandas and take pictures.
After a memorable day with pandas, you will be awarded with a panda volunteer certificate.
How Much Will the Volunteer Program Cost?
It costs around USD 100-200 per day per person depending on the project you choose and the time of year you wish to go. The price is only for the program itself and does not include the accommodation, the pick-up and transfer services from your hotel to the panda base, and extra excursions.
Can I Hold a Panda during the Program?
The answer is no. If you would like to hold a panda, you need to pay an extra fee about CNY1,800 as a donation to preserve the endangered animal. A maximum of 20 visitors a day can have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Contact us to check the availability of the program and more details you want to know.
How Long Can I Volunteer for?
It depends on you. There are a number of volunteer programs that last from just one day to two weeks or more. The work on each day is similar.
What the Requirements to Be a Volunteer?
- You must be between the ages of 12-65 years old.If your children are between 0–11 years old, they are not allowed to enter the room where the panda cage is, and your guide will help to take care of them.
- Physical Examination Record is required.
When is the Best Time?
It is best to visit the giant pandas in the morning between 08:30 and 10:30 when they are most active. Between September and December, you are probably to see baby pandas.
If your tour dates happen to be the periods of Labor Day Holiday (May 1-3) and Chinese National Day Holiday (October 1-7), you are recommended to book at least one month in advance.
The program is not available during the Chinese New Year Holiday, in late January or early/mid February.
Do I Need a Guide?
A panda keeper in the panda base will help you during the volunteer program, but a private knowledgeable guide is needed to make your trip informative and hassle-free.
He/she will share with you all the information about the pandas you are interested, arrange all the details of the program, take photos or videos for you…