is a part of the Sichuan Province of China. From
Chengdu, it is about four hours' drive. Further
drive from Wolong through the Balang Shan (Balang
Mountain) will take you to Jiusaigou. Wolong is
a highland with almost one thousand meters above
sea level. The altitude brings it high contrast
of weather among the four seasons of a year.
The Giant Panda Reserve is not
all of Wolong. There are many other sites
along the way from the fields to the mountaintops
Wolong Giant Panda Reserve
Wolong Giant Panda Reserve Centre was one of the
earliest research bases established in the early
1980s by the Government of the People's Republic
of China (PRC). Until 1989, the Ministry of Forestry
of PRC and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
formulated the long-term Giant Panda Management
Today, the Wolong Giant Panda
Reserve Centre has been turned into the
Giant Panda Breeding Centre focusing on
research works on breeding and bamboo ecology.
Much other research works are being carried
out at other Reserves such as the one in
Qinling Mountains of Shaanxi Province.
The Centre basically takes
care of giant pandas under three situations:
when the giant pandas are brought up from captive
* when the giant pandas are somehow dispersed
from the group, or are rescued from injury,
and have lost the ability to survive if
released back to the wild,
* when the giant panda are ready to be released
back t to the wild.
The Centre has two types of
'accommodations' for giant pandas - the
Captive Cages and the Semi-nature Enclosures.
Most of the giant pandas in
the Centre stay individually in the captive
cages, which are in fact large enclosures,
each consists of an in-door room and an
The semi-nature enclosures are
very large wild areas but protected by border
fences. Those giant pandas that will soon
be released back to the wild will be put
in the semi-nature enclosures for a long
enough period of time for them to adapt
to the natural environment. Although food
has to be provided, the giant pandas will
sleep there, eat there and recover their
natural survival skills there until they
can be released back to the wild.
Lesser Panda Semi-nature
Lesser Panda, also called Red
Panda or Small Panda (in Chinese languages),
is another type of endangered bear. They
look very much different from giant panda
- they are much smaller, have brown and
black fur, have a long tails, are more active,
and are skilled clambers. But they are no
less cute and lovely than the giant panda.
The Lesser Panda Semi-Nature
Centre locates right next to the Giant Panda
Breeding Centre. The purpose and setup of
the facility is the same as that of the
Giant Panda Breeding Centre. Except that
it does not need as much of space as the
Giant Panda Breeding Centre to hold the
smaller size Lesser Pandas.
go to Wuyipeng, a hiking of five hundred meters
up hill is needed. Except when the trail is covered
with melting ice during late winter, the walk
Wuyipeng was once a research
facility of the Giant Panda Reserve Centre.
It was intentionally located closer to the
habitat of the Giant Panda for the researchers'
more convenient access to the habitat. Owing
to the relocating of many of the research
works to other Giant Panda Reserves, Wuyipeng
is no long fully functioning. However, weather
statistics are still being recorded daily
to provided limited information for the
existing Giant Panda Breeding Centre.
Occasionally, local or overseas
research students on related subjects will
come to conduct academic researches and
borrow the accommodation facilities.
Balang Shan (Balang Mountain)
Balang Shan runs three thousand
meters further high towards the sky. The
mountaintop is about four thousand meters
above sea level. Going up the mountain,
you will see different types of plants grow
to adapt to the change in temperature, humidity,
amount of sunlight and air pressure due
to the change in altitude. The phenomenon
is more obvious when the plants bloom during
spring and summer.
For birdwatchers, Balang Shan
caters different types of birds along the
changing altitude. Far before reaching the
mountaintop, you will be able to see birds
of prey flying below your feet. I saw the
backs of two flying Golden Eagles on my
Other sites spread alongside
the Min River within Wolong also have spectacular
views and are good for taking photos and
birdwatching. For instance, at Yingchanggou
you can find stones with high mineral contents.
An exhibition centre exhibits many information
and specimen of the area. If you have got
the time, energy and patient, you may even
do a serious hiking to track for wild giant
pandas' foot prints.