Sunday, 17 March 2013

110. Pandas and the People's Park


I somehow managed to delete the photos that were meant to accompany the last post on our ride from Kunming up to Chengdu (No. 109) and I am too lazy to upload them once again - including the impressive ones of the snow and ice - but here's a few of Ellie's pictures from the morning we visited the panda breeding centre here in Chengdu. The centre has both endangered giant pandas as well as the much smaller red pandas and both were incredible to watch as we arrived early in the morning before they chomped down their bamboo breakfast and promptly fell asleep again. They tumbled around one another and lay in very undignified positions as they stripped the bamboo. Some of the enclosures were quite impressive - large and spacious, whilst their indoor accommodation is rather bleak and prison-like. Normally in the wild, older giant pandas are solitary and use a 5 to 6 square kilometre area for their subsistence. Wild population estimates are between 1500 and 3000, mostly in the bamboo forested hills of Sichuan and a couple of neighbouring provinces. Needless to say, their habitats are continually threatened by rapid development, deforestation and pollution and the breeding centre sees itself as filling this gap. There is also a huge market in all-things-panda which makes one feel sometimes that its commercialisation is more important than its conservation. The other photos were taken at the People's Park, including a long-spouted brass tea pot and the sugar art. Ellie's camera died (again) a few weeks ago and she just replaced it here in Chengdu with a swashbuckling Canon G15...
 
Chengdu, China 

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