By Hunter Zhu
Graphic and Media Design
Pandas are often viewed as the national treasure of China as well as living fossils, giving us a glimpse into the past. The Chengdu Research Base of Panda Breeding (or more simply, the Panda Base) is an internationally-renowned institution where scientific research of panda breeding is conducted that was founded to save endangered giant pandas. Located only 10 kilometers from downtown Chengdu in the northern suburbs, the Panda Base covers an area of 1,000 mu. During construction of the Base, the giant pandas’ wild living environment was faithfully recreated by including features such as pools, brooks, and bamboo forests. There is also plenty of vegetation for the pandas to eat, such as tens of thousands of bamboo shoots and shrubs. The most popular attractions in the Base are the panda villas, solar greenhouse, moon palace, and the panda museum.
On January 1, 2019, several of my friends joined me from different locations to make a special trip to the Giant Panda Base.
In Villas 1 and 2, the adult pandas could be found playing and resting. When we arrived some of these pandas continuously ate bamboo leaves while we watched, and others ate bamboo shoots, one panda is especially adorkable, While holding bamboo shoots with its chubby hands, it used its mouth to tear open the hard peel, easily eating up the bamboo after a while. We also saw some pandas that were enjoying naps on wooden supports, while others were sleeping on the ground, and some of the more active pandas were playfully chasing each other around. Each panda appeared naïve and cute, and much like children, they would get up and play after having a good sleep. It appeared that the pandas were so free!
The core area of the Giant Panda Base houses the solar greenhouse, which is where pregnant female pandas wait to give birth and where newborn and young giant pandas live. The round moon palace is split between indoor and outdoor portions, and here I saw several 2- to 3-months-old adorable panda cubs, one of cub used its chubby little hands to scratch itself,another was being fed ,while another cub slept soundly. They enjoyed eating, playing and sleeping, and I felt very relaxed watching them.
For at least 8 million years, giant pandas have inhabited the earth, but no more than 1,600 wild pandas currently exist, and most of these are pampered by people. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding was founded by saving 6 sick and hungry giant pandas from the wild. Since then, it has successfully taken care of 62 female pandas, which have given birth to 88 baby pandas, of which 54 have survived.
Although giant pandas are no longer currently endangered because of China’s strong efforts to protect them, they are still very valuable and bring tourists all over the world unparalleled joy.