Panda Base – Chengdu, China

Taking a brief break from the Antarctica posts to share our trip to Tibet and Chengdu, China over Chinese New Year last weekend.  I’ll finish up the Antartica posts after I finish this brief trip review from Tibet and Chengdu.

Panda Base

Through a comical series of flight cancelations by Air China (an unbelievably disorganized airline) we had an unexpected free afternoon in Chengdu.  A quick google search turned up the Panda Base.  We’ve never seen Panda’s before so I figured it was worth a visit.  I also found that you could get your picture taken with a Panda which I thought would be very unique experience.

Baby Panda at the Chengdu Panda Base

Once we arrived at the Panda Base we quickly went to the Nursery where they kept the baby Pandas.  This was also the location where you could take photos with the baby pandas.  I knew you had to pay extra to take a picture with them but was a little surprised when they asked for a $150 USD “donation”.   I thought that was pretty steep… especially for China.  I knew Miki would like it so I went ahead and paid the donation fee.

Our time soon came up to take a photo with the baby Panda but I got stopped at the door and they said you only paid for one.  I explained that I didn’t want to hold the Panda.  I just wanted to take the pictures of Miki holding it.  My negotiation skills failed.  I had to hand over my camera to one of the staff so he could take the pictures.  I would have gone in with Miki but I was out of money and the nearest ATM was a 30 minute drive away.  I didn’t care much about holding a Panda but I didn’t want to hand over my Canon 5d Mark II with 24-105 L lens.  I’m pretty controlling over who touches my camera… basically nobody ;)

I did eventually hand over the camera and the pictures were very funny.  The baby Panda was a girl named Ya Yun.  She was born on September 9th, 2010.

Baby Panda "Ya Yun" at the Chengdu Panda Base

The Panda seemed to be pretty hungry because it kept trying to take a bite out of Miki.

The first attack…

Panda nibble #1

The staff had to step in to help remove the panda from her cheek.

Panda nursery staff saving Miki from a panda attack

Maybe Miki didn’t learn to keep her face away from the Panda’s mouth?  Maybe the Panda was very hungry?  Maybe Miki smelled like Bamboo?  I don’t know but the Panda went in for another nibble and had to be removed again.  She got a good hold of Miki this time.

Panda nursery staff saving Miki from a panda attack... again.

Obviously the panda couldn’t fit Miki’s whole cheek in her mouth so next she went after something a little more bit sized… her nose.

Baby panda taking a bit of Miki's nose

and she had to be rescued again.

Panda nursery staff saving Miki from a Panda attack... AGAIN

The Panda wanted to show Miki there were no hard feelings so she gave Miki a nice goodbye kiss.  A kiss from a panda with some crazy little beady eyes and a few teeth are showing too… we can just say it was a nice goodbye kiss ;)

Ya Yun's goodbye kiss

The “attacks” look worse than they were.  The panda was only playing and none of the bites were hard.  Even though the main destination of our weekend away was Tibet, this was the highlight of the trip.  The Panda Base is a nice little zoo (if you can even call it a zoo since they only have pandas).  If you happen to be in Chengdu you should definitely visit.

On the way out of the Panda Base there was a very pathetic looking man selling Panda junk souvenirs.  I really hope he lost a bet with his friends or he’s on some candid camera show.  Really… what grown man would even wear that stuff.

A very pathetic looking guy selling panda stuff. I bet his parents are proud.

Here are a few more pics from around the Chengdu Panda Base.

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2 Responses to “Panda Base – Chengdu, China”

  1. [...] Holding a Baby Panda in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China: ~$150, with proceeds going to the care and continued breeding efforts at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. [...]

  2. Jenna Williams says:

    I loved reading this and seeing the pictures! A couple of us are here in Zhongshen teaching English and have the Panda Base on our list of places to visit. I would love to ask you few questions. If you are able to, please email me back!

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