||Available all year round. Programmes start every
Projects are a fixed length of 1 week. Longer projects
are not available.
Minimum age 17.
No qualifications necessary but you should be
enthusiastic person who loves animals.
Full Price List
►Full pre-departure support and assistance,
►Payment Protection insurance
►Meeting you at the neearest airport
►Transfer to your accommodation
►Transport to and from your project
►Local in-country team support and backup
►24-hr emergency support.
►Certificate of Completion
What's not included
Insurance, Cost of Visas, Return
transfer to airport.
Who can do
is open to all nationalities and all ages over 17.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out,
grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in
conservation and caring for animals and working with
wildlife overseas. Good if you want to learn about
rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife and doing
panda voluntary work, projects abroad or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement in China or a short
WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT:
An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into the Orient and the
fascinating Chinese culture
The enormous satisfaction of helping an endangered species.
New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding
of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional
An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head
and shoulders above most others in the job market.
And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!
Get up close and personal, with both baby pandas who weigh only
100 grams at birth and gradually develop to 60lbs in their
second year of life to their far larger parents that weigh a
massive 250-350 lbs. In the last 2 years the volunteer work at
the panda base has contributed to the doubling of the panda
population – which is an amazing achievement. The numbers are
now such that the panda reserve can at last experiment with
returning them to the wild.
Your duties may vary depending on what is required of you at the
time, so flexibility is essential. During your placement your
daily activities will include:
Cleaning of the Giant
Panda enclosures, and the nursery.
Preparing the food and feeding the Giant Pandas.
99% of their diet is bamboo, however the balance usually
consists of rice gruel, high fibre biscuits, carrots, apples
and sweet potatoes.
You may also be asked to conduct some research into their
habits and health, in order to expand the knowledge of how
best to care for these highly endangered species.
If you are interested in animal conservation, this
represents a real opportunity to learn about the Giant
that is unique to China.
A typical program is as follows,
but this will vary from week to week and season to season.
Pick up from Chengdu airport.
You will be collected from Chengdu airport by one of our
English speaking co-ordinators who will transfer you to the
city where you will stay for two nights.
After a morning's rest,
you can take a tour the city of Chengdu including
local markets, parks and the famous ancient pedestrian
street of Kuan-zhai Alley. Visit the Business quarter.
Later, join us at the welcome dinner in one of the City’s
Transfer to the Panda Reserve (3 hours by bus). Lunch at the
Afternoon briefing and introduction to the work
you will be doing.
Also registration (where you will be
issued with your uniform, volunteer card etc).
of the Panda base and meet the panda keepers whom you will
Dinner at the hostel restaurant.
Wednesday – Friday:
For the next 3 days you will work as an assistant to the
Panda Keeper. General duties will include cleaning,
preparing food, chopping and carrying bamboo.
8:00 am transfer to Chengdu City/airport (arriving Chengdu
airport at approximately 11.00 a.m) for your departure.
Afternoon flights are recommended.
ABOUT THE PANDA
The Woolong Nature Reserve was first established in June
1980 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Chines Government as a
research center for endangered animals in China. This led to
the opening of the Giant Panda Conservation Center in 2004.
Since the beginning of this movement, 66 Giant panda cubs
have successfully been bred.
The purpose of the Conservation Center
is to increase the numbers of Giant Pandas found in the
world and potentially begin to reintroduce them back into
the wild. This requires the protection of their natural
habitat and their major food source, bamboo.
The Panda center has established a 90% survival rate for Giant
Panda cubs due to its development in raising twin cubs. In
nature a Panda is only able to raise and protect one cub at a
time. However, with the help of caretakers in the nursery, they
are able to leave one cub with the mother to nurse and bond,
while another is placed in an incubator and hand-raised. Here Staff will stay with the baby panda
for 24 hours a day, every day,
for one week and then the cubs are swopped around. This results in both
cubs being able to be naturally raised by their mother and
receive the care that only she is able to give.
Accommodation at Chengdu:
When you arrive, your accommodation for the first two nights
will be at Chengdu. Here you'll stay in a hostel room with
between 4 and 6 other people. It has a shared bathroom.
At the Panda Base:
You'll then be transferred to the Panda Base. The Greenway
Center in the Ya’an Panda base has been chosen to give you a
special environment for your visit to China. It is located 1,100
metres above sea-level with an average temperature of 15
degrees. It is perfect for the pandas – and for you!
The Center is in a pleasant, cosy, recently renovated hostel.
Accommodation is in twin rooms with TV, 24-hour hot water and
toilets. If you prefer, upgrade options are available (please
contact us for further details).
Laundry facilities are available for a small charge (roughly 20
CNY each time). Other facilities include; free wi-fi and a book
cabinet with a few books in different languages. There’s also a
small shop where you are able to buy the basics like drinks and
At the Greenway Center you will be provided with three meals a
day - breakfast, lunch and dinner. These will be Chinese dishes
typical of the local area, comprising mainly rice, noodles and
vegetables with some meat.
Some of the accommodation in Chengdu
Got any questions? Please email us:
“This week has been amazing!! I love the
pandas - they are so cute. I can't believe how fast the week has
gone though, everybody's so friendly and the pandas can be so
funny. It's a once in a lifetime experience I will never
forget''. Fiona, Scotland.
''I had three amazing weeks at the panda
base... an incredible experience. You were able to get to know
the different personalities of the pandas you were working with
and had access to the whole panda reserve''. Lisa, Norway.
''During the four weeks I fell in love -
with a panda!'' Lena, Norway.
''It has been a most amazing experience. Not
just meeting and working with the pandas, but learning about the
culture and society of China. The volunteers are friendly and
fun to hang out with, so evenings are pretty great. I think it's
fair to say that I've had a few culture shocks, so much here is
different from my home in Sweden, but I've had a great time
discovering these differences. I definitely want to come back
someday!'' Lynn, Sweden
''From the pick up at the airport everything
has been great and working so closely with the pandas is truly
amazing'' Mikael, Sweden
''I enjoyed my time at the panda base...
having fun with the other volunteers. Although four weeks might
seem a long time, it passes quickly. This trip was definitely
worth it!'' Ashira, Belgium
WHY IS THE GIANT PANDA ENDANGERED?
Giant Pandas are naturally solitary creatures that move
freely from area to area seeking out fresh bamboo (their staple
diet), creating avenues in order to come together in spring
This magnificent creature that is known to have
survive the ice age, has over the years been faced with
great challenges, such as their natural habitat decreasing
significantly due to the expansion of humans: the development
of new roads, towns and power lines resulting in the need
for more logging and thus haltering the natural migration
and contributing to the lack of bamboo. (Bamboo requires
shade in order to grow.)
This has resulted in Giants Pandas
being unable to find new food and thus preventing male and
female Giant Pandas from finding one another and being able
to mate and increase their numbers in the wild.
The 2008 earthquake in China also had a devastating effect on the
Giant Pandas' natural habitat and food sources, thus further
the number of Giant Pandas found in the wild.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT:
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll
contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on
details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have
access to all the documentation and information which we've put
together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your
Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you
throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on
your placement and on your return home.
The documents you'll have access to also include a Country
Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on
your particular program (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment
Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we
can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.
As with all our destinations, the culture and heritage is
different to what you're used to ... which, although one of the
most exciting aspects of travelling, should be borne in
mind. Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in
all our destinations and will help you to make the most of this
On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our
will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn
about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how
to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.
ARRIVAL AND TRANSPORT TO YOUR PROJECT
Please note that this will vary from week to week and season to
You'LL fly into Chengdu airport on a Sunday where you will be
collected by one of our coordinators. You will then travel to
Chengdu City which is approx. 30-40 minutes away where you will
spend your first day, giving you time to relax and rest. Monday
will be spent touring the city of Chengdu including the local
markets, parks and later you will be invited to a welcome
The following morning you will be transferred to the Panda base
which is approx. 3 hours away, where you will have lunch at the
panda base with a briefing and introduction to your work content
in the afternoon. Registration will also take place, where you
will receive your uniform and volunteer card before you will
receive a guided tour before dinner.
REQUIREMENTS AND NOTES:
China is still a developing country in a period of transition. The
living standard falls short of what we are used to in
the West. The Chinese culture and heritage is totally
different to Anglo-Saxon or Western cultures. However, the people are very friendly. China is a non-English speaking environment and
it would benefit youi to try to learn a few basic Chinese words before
starting your program. This will help you to get involved in the daily
life of the local people.
While on your placements, you can also book some
Optional Add-Ons to make the most of your Travel Experience.
project can also be combined with any of our other projects in China, or
you could even do a second project in a different country in Asia (or
elsewhere) - thus
doubling your adventure and enjoyment!
LOCATION, EXPLORING AND SIGHTSEEING:
The Panda base is in the middle of nature reserve, thus
surrounded by tranquillity and peacefulness, with the loudest
noises often only being the male pandas' chatter and birds
singing in the trees.
Often after completing your duties there is a fair amount of
free time, as Pandas do also want their own space to be wild
animals. So during this time there is a range of activities for
you to be able to take part in:
Full access to the Panda reserve and volunteer center
The Chinese favourite
sports, including: Table tennis, Mah-jong, and
Free Chinese language lessons from 4pm -6pm daily
You will also have access to the Volunteer Center – this is a
general area where most volunteers will take time to relax, chat
or eat ice cream.
On the weekends, you will have time to further explore this
beautiful country, with options like:
The many walking routes in the reserve.
(Guided tours are available around nearby waterfalls)
Visit the hot springs that are approx. 1 hour away from the
Explore the city of Ya’an for shopping and general sight
Visit the local zoo
(10 minutes from the reserve).
Visit sites like the Sichuan opera, Jinli night fair or the
Tibetan quarter in Chengdu city.
Hike to the Emei mountain or mount Oingchent to see the giant
Your project Coordinator will be able to suggest more options
depending on your budget and interests
In our opinion, some of the highlights of the rest of
The Army of Terracotta Warriors outside Xi’an - 6000 soldiers and horses that were originally
designed to guard the tomb of an ancient Emperor. 2000 years old, these
warriors were discovered by accident in the 1970s by peasants digging a
well! Every figure differs in facial features and expression, and they
make for an amazing sight!
Tropical Xishuangbanna - China's very own
South-East Asia complete with sunshine, Thai style temples, Dai minority
dancing and water splashing festivals! Here you can explore tribal
villages on the border with Burma, or trek through the rainforest.
Northern China, along the path of
the ruins of the Great wall, also has many sights, and a slightly
rough-around-the-edges charm. Here, you can visit the Gobi desert &
climb enormous sand dunes in Gansu Province or explore ancient grottoes
and caverns full of religious art & Buddha statues at Dunhuang or
Datong. You can even spend a night camping out
under the stars in a yurt on the epic grasslands of Inner Mongolia. Here
you might find yourself taking part in traditional Mongolian wrestling
or drinking the local spirit (hopefully not at the same time!)
China's big cities - The economic and cultural and
centres of this blossoming nation can be found in its 3 big cities - Beijing,
Hong Kong. These cities are practically
alive with energy and each deserve a visit during your time in China.
They represent the glitz and glamour of China's future and everything
that's hip in China's new youth, with the rich history of Chinese
culture running strongly through them.
The far North-West - Xinjiang Province in the far
North-West of China next to the borders with Mongolia & Kazakhstan is a
multicultural melting pot of Han Chinese, Uyghurs (the local Muslim
people) and Kazakhs. Here you can visit Tian Chi, a lake halfway up a
mountain inhabited by nomadic Kazakh people or take part in local grape
making in the desert around Turpan
To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you
arrive in your new country, please
Support & Backup:
To read about the excellent
& Backup we provide before you leave and during
please click here.
"I had a lot of fun teaching and found it really
one of the best things that I have ever decided to do."
Lina Joshi on her teaching placement in China