The World Conservation Union lists the giant panda on its Red List of Threatened Animals. With fewer than 1,800 giant pandas in existence, visiting China's national treasure at the Bifeng Valley Panda Center is a great opportunity.
Bifeng Valley created a name for itself before the pandas made a home there in 2003. The valley rests between two gorges. Along the Bifeng Gorge, visitors will find cascading waterfalls of all degrees, flowing streams, lush forests and awe-inspiring views. Wandering along the gorge, it is easy to feel at one with nature. With over sixty scenic stops, it is easy to see why this place of serene beauty was chosen as the location for China's first ecological animal park in 1999.
The Giant Panda Ecological Park laid its foundation in 2001. Because the endangered giant pandas are a Chinese national treasure, great care was taken in the construction of this center. Viewing a map, it is easy to see the four distinct zones; a breeding and raising area, a living and working area, the bamboo base, and the wildlife training area. The wildlife training area helps the giant pandas acclimate to living in the wild. The Bifeng Valley Panda Center has the task of using simulated wild environments to prepare the pandas for a return to nature, a new role in the destiny of these endangered species.
When the 2008 earthquake hit, it displaced the giant pandas of the Wolong Nature Reserve, which at the time was the most popular panda attraction in China. Now, with over seventy pandas on its roster, the Bifeng Valley Giant Panda Ecological Park is the largest captive panda reserve in the world.
In fact, you have the opportunity to be a Panda volunteer for a day. As a volunteer, you will be responsible for helping prepare the pandas' food, as in collecting bamboo, and helping to feed the pandas. Playing with the pandas is another opportunity as a volunteer. Sometimes, volunteers get the chance to help bathe a panda.
If you find yourself at the Panda Center during breeding season, you may catch a glimpse of some babies in the little Panda House. As of 2008, there were thirteen baby pandas existing at the Bifeng Valley Center. By February 2009, the center gave those surviving small pandas a ceremony as they were sent to attend Panda Kindergarten. Many visitors jump at the chance to get their picture taken holding one of these cuddly little animals.
As you wander through the Bifeng Valley Panda Center, you will be amazed by the giant pandas combined with the natural scenery. It is a great opportunity to see these cuddly creatures that are so revered and to enjoy yet more scenic beauty that China has to offer.