Brief Introduction to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (hereinafter referred to as the Base), located at 1375# Panda Road, Northern Suburb, Chenghua District, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, P.R.China, is 10 km away from the city center and over 30 km from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport. Proclaimed the ‘ecological demonstration project for the ex-situ conservation of giant pandas’, the Base, covering an area of 1,000 mu (66.67 hectares), serves as the world’s torchbearer for the ex-situ conservation of giant pandas, scientific research and breeding, public education, and educational tourism. The Base wears its title very well as the sanctuary for giant pandas, red pandas, and other endangered wild animals exclusive to China. The scenery is astonishing: trees clothe the slopes, crystal clear rivers wind down, forests line the paths, and birds chirp in harmony. The Base, as a bastion of bliss, is China’s worst-kept secret -"the natural paradise of national treasures and our Xanadu".
I. Giant panda breeding
The Base has bred the largest population of captive giant pandas across the globe from the six sick and starving giant pandas left by rescue in the 1980s. Without capturing a single giant panda from the wild, the Base has relied on technological innovation, bringing the population up to 215 as of the end of 2020, featuring good genetic quality, individual health, and behavioral health.
II. Giant panda research
Over the past three decades, the Base, through innovative research work, has addressed key technical problems in feeding and management, reproduction and cub rearing, disease prevention and control, and population genetic management of captive giant pandas, broken through a raft of technical bottlenecks, and constituted many original scientific research achievements. Add to this a mix of honor, including 72 scientific research achievements at all levels, 400 or more papers published in international and domestic well-known journals, and 30 national patents granted. No other institutes at home and abroad can rival the Base’s capabilities in scientific research, technological achievements, and application and promotion of giant panda ex-situ conservation. The Base won the honor "National Advanced Collective of Technical Talent" in September 2014.
III. Conservation education on giant pandas
The Base took the lead, in 2000, in public conservation education throughout the national wildlife conservation system by establishing the Department of Popular Science Education. Under the guidance of the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA), the Base drew upon essence of advanced concepts and education methods and rolled out an array of education programs at the Base and into urban communities, universities, schools, kindergartens, and rural areas nationwide from the perspectives of public awareness, emotion, and behavior in response to hot environmental issues. It has won acclaim from young people, volunteers, and animal lovers at home and abroad. Cooperating with many countries and institutions enabled the Base to have established a web of contacts and collaboration. The Base has been awarded the kudos such as Global Top 500, National Youth Science and Technology Education Base, National Popular Science Education Base, National Base for Popular Science of Environmental Protection, the demonstration base of popular science education and ecological protection in Chengdu and Sichuan, and the demonstration base of socialist core values practice education for minors in Chengdu.
IV. Giant panda tourism
The Base, adhering to the guiding principle of equal emphasis on scientific research and tourism, created a sustainable development model of production, study, research, and tourism. The Base simulated the ecological environment of giant pandas in the wild by creating a garden, with the nursery house, feeding area, research center, and panda hospital in orderly distribution. Several luxury panda "villas" are tucked into the mountains and forests. Giant pandas of different ages grow up and thrive here, and the elder and the young live together in harmony and enjoy themselves well. In 1998, it was rated by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) as another legendary world on par with the World Natural Heritage site – Jiuzhaigou and was accredited with a national AAAA tourist attraction in 2006. It received over 9 million visitors from home and abroad in 2019.
V. Chengdu Field Research Center for Giant Pandas — Panda Valley
Set in Majiagou, Yutang Town, Dujiangyan City, the Chengdu Field Research Center for Giant Pandas — Panda Valley, covering an area of 2,004 mu (133.6 hectares), is adjacent to the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project and Mt. Qingcheng, a sacred Taoist place, 50 km from Chengdu and 3 km or so from the Dujiangyan proper. It is easily accessible from Chengdu-Dujiangyan Expressway, light rail, and the mountain-circling road from Mt. Zhaogong to Mt. Qingcheng. The countless bamboo and trees afford glorious shade and lend the place a very leafy complexion, with the gurgling streams, chirping birds, and fragrant flowers. The cornucopia, blessed with the sui generis natural climate, is home to over 700 species of flora and fauna and a natural base for the reintroduction of giant pandas.
The Panda Valley was opened on trial to the public on October 1, 2014 and officially opened to the public on April 20, 2015. At present, the Valley houses three giant panda reintroduction transition training enclosures and a semi-wildness training field. There are more than 10 giant pandas for training research of reintroduction adaptation all year round.
VI. The ‘Capital of the Panda’ Project
Adhering to the guiding principles of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, acting on the important instructions of General Secretary Xi during his inspection tour in Sichuan, and strengthening the core carrier of Chengdu's giant panda research, conservation, and culture, the CPC Chengdu Municipal Committee and Chengdu Municipal People’s Government, with the giant panda conservation as the core and the construction of a global conservation model, a window on ecological civilization, and a star of park city as the goal, center around scientific research, public education, international exchange, tourism and leisure, culture and creativity, and outdoor sports among other functions, and combine the ecological and cultural values of giant pandas and the construction of a beautiful and livable park city in Chengdu. The ‘Capital of the Panda’ project is planned and launched with a total planning area of about 69 km2, including the Beihu Area, Dujiangyan Area and Longquan Mountains Area in Chengdu. In 2019 the first meeting of planning committee of Chengdu considered and adopted the masterplan and conceptual planning scheme. Among them, the Beihu Area - Panda Base Renovation and Expansion Project was implemented first as a key project for the common good, and the first phase of construction has started in the third quarter of 2019, striving to be completed and opened before the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games.