China launches global search for six panda keepers

Aug 17, 2010
A giant panda rests at a panda reserve in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province. Pandas are viewed as a national treasure in China. A Chinese panda centre has launched a global search for six people who would spend a month looking after the endangered animals

A Chinese panda centre said Tuesday it had launched a global search for six people who would spend a month looking after the endangered animals, as part of an awareness and conservation campaign.

"Project Panda," launched by the Chengdu Panda Base in the southwestern province of Sichuan and the WWF, aims to give six winners of a global contest a chance to study pandas' behaviours and provide hands-on assistance.

The keepers will be able to witness the birth of baby and their development, the base said in an email to AFP.

"We hope that through this project more and more people will join our mission to protect pandas and will realise the importance of preserving wild habitats," said Zhang Zhihe, head of the Chengdu Panda Base.

The winners will also trek into the mountains around Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, to study wild pandas in their natural habitat, and will report on their daily work by blogging to people around the world, the base said.

Over the next six weeks, animal lovers from around the world will be able to log onto a website, www.pandahome.com, to apply for the position. A panel of experts will select 12 finalists, which they will then whittle down to six.

There are just 1,600 pandas left in the wild and nearly 300 others are in captive-bred programmes worldwide, mainly in China, according to official reports.

After having successfully managed to make the animals mate in captivity, researchers are now looking at ways to send captive-bred pandas into the wild to boost the number of animals roaming free.

Four pregnant pandas bred in captivity were released into an area of Sichuan forest last month to prepare their future cubs for life in the wild, state media reported.

But this task is a difficult one, and so far, the only attempt at releasing a captive-bred panda into nature has ended tragically.

Xiang Xiang, a male cub who was trained to adapt to the wild and released in 2006, was found dead 10 months later, apparently killed by wild pandas native to the area.

Explore further: Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China to train pandas to survive in wild

May 20, 2010

(AP) -- China plans to build a center where giant pandas born in captivity will be trained to survive in the wild, state media reported Thursday.

China panda population stable: report

Sep 19, 2009

China's wild panda population has remained stable despite last year's Sichuan earthquake that damaged key areas of the endangered species' habitat, state press said Saturday.

Pandas to return to famous China reserve in 2012

Sep 20, 2009

(AP) -- Sixty pandas relocated last year from a famous Chinese nature reserve after their breeding center was severely damaged by a massive earthquake will return home after repairs in 2012.

Recommended for you

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

Apr 17, 2014

One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

Apr 17, 2014

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

Fear of the cuckoo mafia

Apr 17, 2014

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.