On March 18, we customized and arranged a Giant Panda Base visit and volunteering program for our special guest – Rachel Grant in Dujiangyan, 50 km from Chengdu downtown area. It was such a honor for China Discovery.
Rachel Grant is an actress, TV host, adventurer, travel writer and humanitarian and social entrepreneur. She came to the modern metropolis Shanghai in the middle of March and decided to have one-day short break in China. Rachel contacted China Discovery through Facebook and asked for day trip ideas. China Discovery gave her useful suggestions immediately and told her “Coming to Chengdu to take panda volunteer program will be incredible experience for one day travel and Dujiangyan Panda Base is the only one at present to do panda volunteer work ”. Rachel trusted China Discovery without any doubt and thought it was great to meet the lovely giant pandas and do some volunteering work to take care of the cuddly bears. Before she flied to Chengdu, the Hometown of Giant Pandas, she came to the local hospital of Shanghai to get a “Health Examination” (Please note: Health Examination can be applied in your country or in China and it needs the signature of your doctor to prove that you are healthy to closely contact with the pandas). On that day, Rachel can’t wait to see the giant pandas and she decided to take the latest flight to Chengdu. China Discovery arranged our private driver and professional travel guide to pick up Rachel at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport and escorted her to a comfortable hotel in downtown area to stay overnight.
In the early morning of March 18, our experienced driver and knowledgeable guide picked up Rachel at her hotel after she finished her breakfast and escorted Rachel to Dujiangyan Panda Base which took about 1.5 hours for drive. It was a fine day with gentle breezes, warm sunshine and rape flowers blooming all the way. Rachel was so excited and stopped at the beautiful farmland to take some pictures in the sea of rape flowers. Smiling face and dancing body were making her a butterfly under the blue sky.
Meet Sea of Rape Flower on the way to Dujiangyan
After the happy time on the way, Rachel arrived at Dujiangyan Panda Base around 08:40 AM and began her volunteer work. She dressed into the work clothes and gloves which made her an “Honorable Keeper” immediately. Indeed, she was turned out to be a loving keeper – cleaned up bamboos, picked up droppings, washed panda enclosures, observed pandas’ behaviors and even personally delivered food to pandas. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, Rachel even had simple lunch with the staff and other volunteers in the refectory.
Rachel did panda volunteer work in Dujiangyan
In the afternoon, Rachel watched a panda documentary showing the scientific facts about pandas to understand how humans protect them. Later, Rachel became the “Panda Nutritionist” to prepare food for the pandas and experience the fun of making “Panda Cake”.
Time was so precious and limited and it was time to say goodbye to the giant pandas. Once human had close interaction with pandas, it was so hard to separate them. With tear and sadness, Rachel waved her hands with all the pandas. Luckily, Rachel received panda volunteer certificate and souvenirs which would be good gift to record the memorable time between her and the pandas.
It was a pity that Rachel just got one day in Chengdu and she had to move straightforward to the airport to catch her flight to Shanghai. “Goodbye pandas, goodbye Chengdu!” Rachel said. Our special guest, China Discovery would warmly welcome you to Chengdu next time.
Here are the feelings and experience that Rachel Grant posted on her Facebook.
“Some favorite moments from a recent trip to China...
It was an incredible learning experience volunteering at the China Conservation and Research Center of Giant Panda in Dujiangyan, China. Volunteers get to feed, clean and interact with pandas and we also learned about the red panda - another endangered species that has previously been placed in the racoon and bear families, but are unique to their own.
I also got to make panda corn bread, break bamboo and spent a morning picking up panda poop! Pandas eat around 14-15 hours a day and poop up to 40 times a day! They may also seem gentle and quiet, but they can bleat, roar, claw, growl, and honk! In 1990, there were just 600 pandas left on earth, but thanks to the good works of these panda homes in China, there are now 1900 pandas. A female panda is fertile for just two days in a year, so every birth really counts. Thank you to China Discovery - China Tour Operator for this exceptional experience.”
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Dujiangyang Panda Base, Mount Qingcheng, Dujiangyan Irrigation System
Chengdu / Dujiangyan / Chengdu
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