China's giant pandas are considered a living national treasure and are loved by not only Chinese people, but people around the world. The giant panda's natural habitat is in China's Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu Provinces, and due to habitat loss, the giant panda's population has dwindled to less than 1,000, 80% of which are located in Sichuan Province. Chengdu's Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding has been working hard to ensure a future for these beloved creatures.
Located 10 kilometers (6 miles) from downtown Chengdu, the Breeding Center opened in 1993 for the sole purpose of breeding, researching and educating the public about China's giant pandas. The Breeding Center covers an area of over 92 acres, and is home to several species of rare and endangered animals. The Breeding Center's research center has three floors dedicated to research, and one floor used to educate the public on the research to promote China's endangered species. Their highly trained staff of 46 has collaborated with researchers from 8 different countries and currently has 15 guest experts from other countries currently working with them in the Breeding Center. The panda nursery is home to the center's infant panda population.
It is many visitors to the center's favorite places. There are large open areas for the giant pandas to roam free. The Breeding Center is home to many firsts. It was the first to achieve breakthroughs in captive breeding. They have set up the largest semen and cell bank for the giant pandas as well as the first giant panda studbook in the world. Because an adult giant panda eats up to 40kg (80 pounds) of bamboo a day, a large number of plants and over ten thousand clumps of bamboo have been cultivated to provide food for the giant pandas. The center has plans to add another 500 acres of land on which to simulate a natural environment in the hopes of preparing giant pandas for release into the wild.
The center works had to promote public awareness for wildlife and environmental conservation. The Breeding Center believes that people must work together to promote conservation and protect endangered species. The Breeding Center is the first endangered species conservation institution in China to have a dedicated conservation education department with dedicated full-time educators.
Although the giant pandas are the principle species of interest, the center also houses the South China tiger, lesser or red panda, golden monkey, and black necked crane. Research in the areas of reproduction, behavior and nutrition is being done to help ensure that these endangered species survive.
Chengdu's Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is a delightful experience for visitors of all ages. The giant pandas are adorable, and to watch them romp in their large open air enclosures is a delightful experience. The giant pandas are obviously well cared for, and the entire center is well designed and beautifully landscaped. Visitors cannot help but feel moved at the plight of China's Giant Pandas, and the center's devotion to their survival.
It is recommended that visitors arrive early, 8:00 to 10:00, during feeding hours. It is the best time to see the giant pandas in action.
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