Where: Chengdu, Sichuan province, Southwest China
Population: A tiny 1000 worldwide, 850 of which are here
Facts: Panda’s have so much trouble mating in captivity that breeders show them films of other pandas getting it on
Visiting: Panda City includes a museum, zoo and Panda Research Centre
When you think of the WWF what is the first thing that comes to mind? After Hulk Hogan, maybe the Panda - the universal symbol for the conservation of wildlife. The Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base in the Sichuan Province of China is one of the most important centres in the world for the captive conservation of these loveable animals.
Located six miles outside of Chengdu on the hill of Futou, the Research Centre holds the immediate goal of trying to increase the captive population of the Giant Panda and ultimately teaching them the skills needed for release back into the wild.
Currently 56 pandas live at the centre and dozens more have been born in the last year alone even though the Panda has an infamously low libido. Just like you had to go through sexual education when growing up, the Pandas are in need of a little direction in the area of copulation in order to improve their reproductive performance. Pandas learn how to reproduce in the wild from watching their parents or other bears in the group fight for female attention and then mate. Now that they have been taken into captivity, these opportunities seldom exist and they become stressed out and get stage fright within their limited surroundings. And you thought you had it bad in High School. Instructional videos or ‘panda porn’ are now the key to arousing both the males and females and teaching them the tricks of the trade!
The Research Centre has evolved into China Panda City that now encompasses the museum as well as the Chengdu Zoo. The museum houses over 100 scientific animal books to be used for educational purposes sitting alongside thousands of animal photographs and preserved specimens of mammals, birds, insects and reptiles. Since 1987, $3.6 Million US has been donated to the city and 600 acres of land have been planted with bamboo and shrubs to provide the pandas with natural food and living environments.
85% of the world’s pandas live in Sichuan province with only an estimated 1000 in the entire world. Although great work is being done on panda reproduction, much work remains to be done on preserving the natural habitat of the pandas in the wild and improving the co-existence possibilities of these animals with humans.
WWFs giant panda conservation plan
By Amy Jurries