GoChengdu Classes on World Culture: Sharing Stories of Giant Pandas

Authors: Jay Liu; Video: Wei Jiaxin; Photo: Wei Jiaxin, Yang Hui

2019-09-07

“Does the giant panda eat meat?” “How do the keepers communicate with giant pandas?” You may have such questions if you are a panda fan.
And it's no wonder that a cluster of kids—all participants of the program "Training Pandas at Panda Base" ― raised questions of the same kind at a class by James Ayala, from the New York City and now a researcher at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (the Panda Base).
The program, staged on August 30 at the Panda Base, was the last stop of the GoChengdu Classes on World Culture in 2019, which is organized by Chengdu's city portal website gochengdu.cn.
James came to Chengdu for animal protection and research nine years ago and worked at the Panda Base later. He studied conservation biology at a university in the US and worked in the field of animal protection before he came to Chengdu and engaged himself in the research of giant pandas protection which, as he said, has fulfilled the dreams of his childhood.
Training the giant pandas is not as easy as it looks, James said to the young participants. He explained that pandas communicate with each other by ways of smelling, listening, watching and touching, and his job is to train the pandas to get familiar with and then understand the orders by humans given in sounds, gestures and touches, in order to make it easier to conduct feeding and physical checking on the pandas, as well as to establish mutual trust between humans and pandas.
The coming of Gopan, the icon of GoChengdu.cn with the image of a chubby panda, made a stir at the end of the class, and the kids rushed to hug and coddle Gopan. The sweet moments with the icon have been recorded in the cameras of the photographers.

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