Panda Project

When I was a kid and all my friends had the standard brown teddy bears, I always had a black and white panda. Nicknamed “Andy Panda” it made sense (and that well-loved bear with the rubbed smooth nose is still probably up on a closet shelf at my mother’s house). Pandas are one of the few animals that can elicit an “Awwww” from just about everybody–they’re just so darn cute and roly poly.

With fewer than 1,000 Giant Pandas left in the world, volunteers with Planeterra’s “Project China” voluntour get to participate directly with protection efforts for the endangered species. Voluntourists at the Bifengxia Research Centre will work with trained conservationists in meeting the day-to-day needs of its resident pandas, many of which were relocated from Wolong Center, previously the world’s largest panda conservation center. Wolong was badly damaged by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. In addition to the volunteer work on this 14-day trip, other highlights include visits to Shanghai, Shaolin, Kung Fu Display, Luoyang, Beijing, Great Wall at Mutianyu, Xi’an, Terracotta Warriors, and Chengdu, so you get quite an overview of China’s greatest hits along with doing good.

When you go, tell the big galoots that I love ’em.

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