After our beautiful day in Jiuzhaigou, we took a 9+ hour bus ride south, through the area where the epicenter of the 2008 earthquake was, and eventually arriving in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan province. The bus ride was quite an experience, that I might write about some day or I might share a link if my friends write about it. It was a very economical form of transportation, but not the most comfortable.
Our main goal in Chengdu was to see pandas. Pandas are native to Sichuan province, and some of the other surrounding provinces. Their native habitat is in areas like Jiuzhaigou (hence Panda Lake there). They are very difficult to see in the wild, and aren’t that many left living in the wild. So, to see them you have to go to a panda breeding and conservation center. There are several in Sichuan, but the easiest one to get to is in Chengdu: the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. We got up early in the morning to get to the park about when the gates opened so we could see the pandas at their most active. That really means we got to see them eat and then try to find a comfortable place to take a nap. They are really cute!
Actual sign that most people didn’t seem to pay attention to, least of all the security man in the panda nursery that kept yelling at people that they couldn’t use flash and needed to keep the line moving.
They grow some bamboo in the park, but they have to buy most of what they need from villagers in the surrounding mountains. Pandas have to eat incredible amounts because there are not a lot of nutrients in bamboo and their digestive systems aren’t very effective in digesting bamboo. It is really no surprise that they are an endangered species.
It was my mom’s birthday the day we visited, so I took photos for her. I also forgot to take any photos of just me and the pandas without the sign.
The grounds of the park were beautiful with lots of different kinds of flowers!
The first panda cubs of this year were born just 3 days before we visited! Very tiny and very cute!
My friends enjoying the park
This panda found a peacock feather to play with! Natural toys are the best!
Again, more photos are in the Facebook album (just follow that link to see it, even if you don’t have Facebook).