Pandas from Sichuan are the symbol of China, and pandas are unique to the country. An increasing number of people from both China and overseas are visiting the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, said James Ayala, an American working in the base.
The 41-year-old researcher of animal behavior has worked at the base for more than four years. He was drawn there by his love for pandas.
China's fourth panda census, the results of which were released on Feb 28 last year by the State Forestry Administration, found evidence of 1,864 wild pandas, and there were 375 captive pandas worldwide at the end of 2013. That compares with 1,596 wild pandas and 164 captive pandas worldwide in the third census carried out from 2000 to 2002.
Most of the wild and captive pandas are in Sichuan.
The rise in the number of wild and captive pandas is chiefly due to the establishment of nature reserves and breakthroughs in breeding technologies, according to Zhang Hemin, chief of the administrative bureau of the Wolong National Nature Reserve.
Researchers used to face three main problems when trying to breed pandas in captivity: estrus, which is the period of sexual receptivity and fertility of the female panda, mating and nursing.
"It used to be difficult for captive pandas to become ruttish and mate, and for their cubs to survive. From 1992 to 2006, our researchers solved all the three difficulties," said Zhang who has studied pandas since 1983.
With the three primary obstacles overcome, Wolong now has the largest captive panda population in the world and no longer captures wild pandas for research purposes.
Instead, it does the reverse, sending captive pandas into the wild with the aim of increasing the wild panda population.
Tao Tao, a two-year-old male panda, was released into the wild in the Liziping Nature Reserve in Sichuan in 2012. He was found one year later in a tree more than 3,000 meters above the sea level.
A veterinarian tranquilized the frightened bear with a rifle dart and a subsequent blood test showed the panda was in good health, said Yang Zhisong, an associate professor of zoology at China West Normal University in Nanchong, Sichuan, who was on the scene.
Tao Tao weighed 42 kilograms when he was released in 2012. When he was found a year later, he had gained at least 10 kilograms, Yang said.
Many countries have asked China to loan pandas to them and it has, since 1996, loaned bears to the United States, Belgium and Thailand, among other countries.
As ambassadors for China, the bears have charmed countless domestic and foreign visitors.
Why it's Chengdu, again?
Known for its mouth-watering cuisines and rich tourism resources, the capital city of Sichuan province is a magnet for travelers both from China and abroad. Envy of other western Chinese cities, it has also become increasingly attractive for senior foreign officials in recent years.
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Panda to be Inseminated via China
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Chengdu Ranks 3rd Domestic Destination for May Day Travelers
Chengdu is one of the top three domestic destinations for Chinese travelers who are planning a getaway during the upcoming May Day holiday.
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Welcome to Chengdu, City of Gastronomy
Chengdu ranked 1st on China’s most popular domestic travel destinations list and 70% travelers come to the city for its food, according to a travel report published by Mafengwo, a major tourist information website in China.
Jun 18, 2015
Enjoy Your Travel in Chengdu
With a pleasant climate, Chengdu is endowed with stunning natural beauty and has lots of beautiful and amazing tourist attractions.
Oct 19, 2016
Tips for Travel in October
Most popular scenic spots in Sichuan will limit number of visitors.
Sep 30, 2015
Chubby Cubs Go to Chengdu Hits Online
The animation features the dreamlike time-travel of a pair of panda cubs in Chengdu to present a vivid display of the cultural elements of the city.
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Best Time for Travel in Chengdu
The best periods to visit Chengdu are from March to June when the weather is not hot, and September to November, when it cools down and the heavy rains are gone.
Jun 06, 2016
Why Choose Chengdu as Travel Destination?
Have a look of all the exquisite gardens, temples, shrines, and museums in and around Chengdu.