Volunteer with Giant Pandas in China
- Placement locations: Dujiangyan Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
- Role: To prepare food for the pandas, clean out enclosures, and observe panda behavior
- Requirements: None
- Type of placement: Panda center
- Accommodation: Guesthouse
- Length of placement: From 1 week
- Start dates: Flexible
Giant pandas are a vulnerable species and conservation and breeding efforts are critical to raising their numbers. As a volunteer with Projects Abroad on the Animal Care Project in China, you will work at an established conservation and research center focused on giant panda breeding. This program is a great option for volunteers and interns of all ages and levels of experience, whether you are on a gap year, career break, or a vacation.
The giant panda population has declined rapidly over the last few decades as a result of extreme habitat loss and low birth rates. Poaching has also impacted the numbers. It is generally agreed that only 1000-1500 pandas still exist in the wild. However, some conservationists are now estimating numbers are actually as high as 3000 and are convinced that recent conservation measures are working.
Our Animal Care Project in China is based at the Dujiangyan Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. This center is located a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Chengdu and is one of four main panda bases in Sichuan Province, Southwest China. The focus here is on rescuing and breeding pandas, and releasing them back into the wild, as well as researching panda behavior and diseases. Currently, 30 rescued giant pandas live at the center (this number increases during breeding season).
Giant Panda Wildlife Conservation Volunteering
At Dujiangyan, you will work as an assistant to a qualified panda keeper. On your first day at the center, you will receive training and education about the pandas you will be working with. You can expect to get involved with the following tasks:
- Preparing food for the pandas
- Cleaning out enclosures
- Observing panda behavior
Participating in this project is a chance for you to learn more about the habits and lives of giant pandas and to be a part of the conservation effort. You will also learn about how a professional rescue and breeding program operates and the research relating to the giant panda.
This project is a great fit for anyone interested in general animal care and wildlife conservation, and especially those with a specific interest in the captive breeding of large mammals. You do not need to have any specific experience with animals, but you must have a strong interest in the work and goals of the center. These are large mammals and although they are in captivity, it is important to remember that they are still wild animals and should not be treated like pets.
During your time at the Animal Care Project, you will stay in accommodation within walking distance of the center. The surrounding area is beautiful and you can use your free time to explore mountains, waterfalls, and bamboo forests.
The Animal Care Project in China is available from 1 week if you do not have time to join us for four weeks or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for shorter durations for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone participating for a longer period.
If you are a high school student and first-time traveler you may want to consider our High School Special programs in China.