A Visit To The Pandas

We left the Gansu province and arrived after a grueling 21 hour train ride in the Sichuan province capital Chengdu. Main attraction here are giant pandas. After experiencing the dry cold weather in Northern China, we're both happy to be in Southern China where the weather is much much warmer, and very pleasant these days. Visiting the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base was something we both looked forward to. These adorable animals are sadly endangered with roughly only 2,000 left in the wild. Most of these cuddly creatures are found in the mountains of China. The Chengdu research center is world renowned for having a high success rate in breeding pandas. Even though it was past the morning feeding period, we were fortunate enough to catch them in their most active state.

The red pandas resembled raccoons more than the black and white panda and had a long striped tail with much thinner bodies. Since November is part of the breeding season, we had the rare chance to view new born pandas which are the size of ones hand. They are usually born pre-mature. The research base grounds themselves were quite impressive and offered a peaceful stroll on a paved path with bamboo growing and butterflies fluttering about. Continuing on, we stopped to admire at the black and white sub-adult and adult pandas munching on bamboo leaves and enjoying every bite as if it was a French cuisine. The sub-adult pandas that are up to five years of age are said to be the most active, playful, and curious about their surrounding. We saw these little adventurers in action as they were being fed in the afternoon. They played together, held each others wrists while eating, and laid down on each other freely as if the other didn't mind. Their diet is hopelessly short on nutrition, so a creature that is supposed to be carnevorous, lives on a diet of bamboos, of which only 20% are nutrionally consumed, so needless to say they spend pretty much all their time eating and sleeping to preserve their precious energy supply. The Chinese have a saying that says one is spoiled like a panda because looking at them, one can almost envy their pampered and idyllic life.

We hope that one day these animals are once again roaming in abundance in the wild. Till then, let's all do our part in protecting these animals and others to preserve this beautiful world as it was meant to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment