In my last post, I wrote about my visit to Lake Taihu and The Turtle Head Islet Park located in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. Although we also went to several other attractions in Wuxi, I decided that I will start writing about another city I visited, ChengDu in Sichuan province. I always could write more about Wuxi in the future if I could find more time.
ChengDu is the Capital City of Sichuan province, located in Southwest of China. I have included a map of China to show the locations of Wuxi and Chengdu in my previous post. Chengdu has a humid subtropical climate, and is largely mild and humid. For the interest of my gardener readers, its hardness zone is 9, and Wuxi is in Hardness zone 8.
During our stay in China, we visited Chengdu Panda Base, a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals such as Red pandas, and golden monkeys. Chengdu Panda Base was founded in 1987. It started with 6 giant pandas that were rescued from the wild. By 2008, it has had 124 panda births, and the captive panda population has grown to 83 (Source: http://www.panda.org.cn/).
While this base is majorly a research institute, it is also open to the public. It covers about 600 acres, and the environment is exquisitely designed to create a natural habitat for Giant Pandas and other endangered animals. It is covered with big trees such as ginkgos, chinars, yulans, willows and embedded with high dense bamboo and grasses. The human-made structures have been designed to blend well with the natural scenery.
The statue of Mother Panda holding a cub is situated in the entrance of the Base. Beautiful Cleome flowers in abundance are surrounding the statue.
I have to admit that I could not stop taking pictures of this beautiful flower when other members in my family had moved on eagerly seeing the pandas! Love the shape of this flower, and its soft pink, lavender/violet, white colors!
Common names: Spider Flower, Spider Legs, Grandfather's Whiskers
Allow me to show you some more of the garden pictures before I show you the pandas! After all, this is a gardening blog, right?
Now we were off the main road... Do you think we would spot the pandas soon?
What is that? Oh, a red panda is in distant!
Another one on the tree! But, where are those cute Giant Pandas?
Follow me on this path...
Wait, what is this bush that has red flowers on it?
The Close-up of the flower... I think I have seen this flower in some blog friend's post, but don't remember what is the name.
This unknown vine distracted me once more with its pretty flowers dangling from the tree along the path...
"Pandas! Mom!" My boys were calling me. They did not understand why their mom always walks so slow, and took pictures of anything, or "nothing"!
Anyway, come back to the Pandas! Aren't they super cute?!!!
This one was practicing his (or her) balancing skill on the tree...
These two were having relaxing time on their own, not minding all of us taking pictures of them like crazy!
Now we were off to visit the breeding center of the base. We were so lucky to see a new born baby panda that was only 1 day old! The baby was still in its incubator. We were only allowed to watch him through the glass window, and no pictures were allowed to take since the flash light could damage baby's eyes.
Just give you an idea what a newborn giant panda looks like, I borrowed a picture from the Internet.
|New born baby pandas (Credit: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/)|
With only 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild, and nearly 300 pandas live in zoos and breeding centers around the world, mostly in China, you can imagine how precious a birth of the panda is! Especially for the scientists working in this breeding center!
We were on the way to the exit of the research base now. Of course, I have to show you more pictures of the beautiful scenery on the road.
Sometimes, a scene with only green color also could look so gorgeous!
|A rest area in the "forest". Tables and chairs are built with artificial material mimicking tree stubs.|
Another surprise for us to see, a Swan lake!
Swans and the gold fish live in harmony...
This concluded our visit to this Panda Research Base. Next time, I will show you a restored historical resident area in Chengdu city.
** On May 12, 2008, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck causing damage to the area, killing lots of people. Though only 75 kilometers (48 miles) from the epicenter, Chengdu itself was built to earthquake specification, and most buildings there remained intact. **