Volunteer with giant pandas on this incredible project in China, and help to forge a future for these amazing animals.
The Panda Volunteer Experience in China is based within the beautiful Bifengxia mountain range, and its long-term aim is to educate people on why these magnificent animals need our help. Despite a lack of predators in the wild and their status as one of the world's most well known and popular animals, it is estimated that there are as few as 1,800 pandas remaining in the wild. For this reason, panda volunteers at this reserve are so important to the survival of these black and white bears.
The reserve began life in a different location, but after an earthquake destroyed the Hetaoping Panda Reserve, its habitants were moved to the new site at Bifengxia and here things really began to take off! Since the move, the panda population has more than doubled and as a result, there are now 40 pandas in residence that you could encounter here!
The staff at this panda volunteer program need your help, without volunteers they would struggle to complete the daily activities (such as feeding and cleaning) that are so crucial to the site running smoothly. Caring for these animals is an ongoing job, and as a panda volunteer, you will be able to play a vital role in the care for these playful pandas!
So, if you want an authentic yet responsible panda experience, get in touch with our team to be volunteering with these gentle giants in no time!
Please note that this itinerary is subject to change so what follows is a rough guideline.
To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
The Bifengxia Panda Reserve is the largest for panda conservation in the whole of China, but the reserve has had to overcome some major obstacles in its quest to learn more about these gentle giants.
Back in 2008 an earthquake decimated the Hetaoping Panda Reserve where over 100 pandas were located, and as a result a large number of the bears were moved to the Bifengxia site. Here the population of the pandas has more than doubled in that time, and as a result around 70% of pandas worldwide have originally come from this panda reserve.
The aims of the reserve are three fold. They are; to ensure that the rescued and captive panda population is well cared for, to protect the genetic variation of a species of animal which is notoriously difficult when it comes to breeding, and to facilitate sustainable development of the species in general.
As a volunteer on this project you will play a big part in assisting the dedicated panda carers as they go about their daily routines with the bears, and as a result will help the reserve to accomplish all of its aims!
How up to scratch is your panda knowledge? Fear no more, as The Great Projects have bought you an abundance of fascinating panda facts right here in one blog. These beautiful bears could be seen as the symbol of endangered wildlife, and one way of spreading awareness, is expanding your knowledge in the first place!
Enjoying your summer so far? We hope so! But it’s never too early to start planning for your next adventure! Luckily for you, we’ve put together a list of the best projects to visit in 2018 – so consider taking a holiday with a difference, and see which of our conservation projects you could be joining next year!
For the first two nights of this project (Sunday and Monday) you will be staying at the quaint Mrs Panda Hostel in Chengdu. Rooms are shared with a maximum of 6 people per room. When you arrive at the Bifengxia reserve you will be staying in a comfortable and recently renovated hostel. At this hostel you will be staying in twin share rooms. You will also have access to a common room which is popular for movie nights! It may be possible to upgrade rooms, both at the Chengdu hostel and at the reserve. These rooms are dependent on availability, please enquire for further information.
On the day of your arrival you will need to purchase your own food, but for your remaining stay at the project your meals are provided. The meals you will receive will be in the traditional Chinese style, comprising mainly of rice, noodles, vegetables and some meat. Some people may find the food a little spicy, so if this is the case please notify your project coordinator! The project can cater for vegans, vegetarians and those with allergies if informed in advance. Drinking water, coffee and Chinese tea will be provided throughout your stay, but if you wish to purchase soft drinks or alcoholic beverages you will have to do this at the bar at an additional small cost!
The work required during this project is not overly-exerting, but it is advised that all participants have a moderate level of fitness. No specific skills or experience are required, just commitment to the project and its aims. You must be prepared to work alongside other members of the team.
The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.
As this is a sanctuary, you are able to volunteer with pandas all year round; however, there are different events during the year which make some months more popular than others.
March to May is panda mating season, during this time pandas may be moved for mating research purposes. Volunteers that are here during this time may be able to help the keepers move the pandas or carry the cages. Due to strict regulation and security conditions from the panda base, volunteers are not allowed to take part in the actual mating research.
June to August is the high season for the panda reserve with volunteer numbers reaching the maximum of around 30 people. This is a good opportunity for volunteers to make friends from all over the world and the weather is very nice around this time of year. One other potential bonus is that you may have the opportunity to see panda cubs! Volunteering during this time requires early booking as spaces do fill up fast.
November to February is winter time and it can get rather cold. It is not all bad news however as due to this we often have fewer volunteers which means you are able to spend more time with pandas.
You will need to arrive into Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport on the start date of your project (a Sunday) between 8am and 6pm and you will be transferred to the Mrs Panda Hostel to begin your adventure. Pick up is at the McDonalds café, and your volunteer coordinator will accompany you via an airport bus to the hostel. Chengdu can be reached via a number of larger international airports. If you arrive a day before you are free to make your way to the Mrs Panda Hostel, but please inform us of this before you depart.
If you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flights page and fill out the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with a suitable quote.
Most nationalities need a visa to enter China and the cost of an entry visa for a British Citizen is around £150. You will need to apply for this via your local Chinese embassy, a visa normally takes around 4 working days to process. Please check your respective countries Chinese embassy website to see your requirements.
The currency in China is the Chinese Yan Renminbi. The exchange rate is around 1CNY = 0.1 GBP, 0.14 USD, 0.13 EUR. For up to date rates please click here.
It was a great experience. More than I expected. Also my family and friends are glad I did it. I would like to do it again!
Mayumi Uemura, 2017
Feeding the Pandas for the first time is something that I shall never forget. I think the itinerary was just right, you spent a lot of time with Pandas but also you had a good amount of free time to explore and complete the group activities.
Sarah Melody, 2017
The thing I will remember is feeding the Giant Pandas. They were so gentle taking the food from you but you could see how powerful they were!
Michael Clements, 2017
If you have any questions about this project or would like help finding the perfect project for you then please feel free to give us a call or send us through your enquiry and we will be happy to help.
Nikita & team.