Volunteer with Giant Pandas in China
- Placement locations: Bifengxia Panda Base, near Chengdu
- Role: To prepare food for the pandas, clean out enclosures, and observe panda behavior
- Requirements: None
- Type of placement: Panda centre
- Accommodation: Hostel
- Length of placement: From 2 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
Projects Abroad's Animal Care project in China offers volunteers the opportunity to work at China's most established giant panda conservation and research centre. The giant panda is one of the world's most iconic endangered species. As a volunteer you can get involved in protecting this lovable but threatened animal, whether you are on a gap year, volunteer vacation, or career break.
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 historically 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. Now you have the opportunity to be a part of this valuable conservation effort by volunteering at the panda research centre.
The China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) was set up by the Chinese Government in 1980 to further the protection of the giant panda and support research work. In 2001, the Ya'an Bifengxia Panda Base was set up as a subsidiary centre to CCRCGP. The Bifengxia Panda Base is a centre for breeding and also includes panda rescue, research, and tourist education programs. Around 80 pandas currently live at the centre.
Giant Panda Wildlife Conservation Volunteering
Volunteers work at the Bifengxia Panda Base, which is primarily a centre for captive breeding. As a volunteer you will be part of the animal husbandry team, preparing food for the pandas, cleaning out enclosures, and keeping data on panda behavior.
By volunteering at the centre you will gain firsthand knowledge of the habits and life cycle of the giant panda. You will also learn about how a professional rescue and breeding program operates and the research and conservation efforts relating to the giant panda.
This volunteer project suits 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 centre. 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.
The centre is located 2.5 hours outside Chengdu in Bifengxia, nr Ya'an city. You will stay in accommodation within walking distance of the centre with other Animal Care volunteers. The surrounding area is beautiful with Bifeng gorge only a short distance away.
In addition to working at the panda centre, volunteers may also have the option of teaching English at a local school a couple of days a week. Please let us know if you are interested in this when you apply.
You can join the project at the panda centre for less than a month if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short-term volunteering.
If you are a high school student and first-time traveller you may want to consider our High School Special programs in China.