Wednesday 21 October 2015

China Part 2.....

We had barely caught up with our sleep when Day Two in China dawned and after fortifying ourselves with a hearty breakfast we met up with the rest of our group for our excursion that morning to the Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre.  You can read more about the centre and their work here.

One of the most endangered animals on earth, there are over 80 Pandas being bred and reared here, in surroundings recreated to resemble their natural habitat.   We saw babies in incubators, you can see in the photograph below the back end of a baby with it's head covered, this is because they tend to thrash about and don't settle if they heads are not covered.
When a Panda gives birth to twins at the centre the staff there only give one at a time to the mother to feed, keeping one in the incubator until she has fed the other one.  This ensures survival of both babies as left to her own devices she would just cast one aside.   Apparently the mothers are none the wiser when the babies as swapped.

Slightly older babies are kept in cots in the nursery
and older still in a larger nursery.

Pandas can't walk until they are a few months old which is why the nurse in the film is moving them about.   Adolescents live together, eating and socialising.

Fully grown Pandas live solitary lives.

The breeding centre also has Red Pandas, which I think look more like racoons.

It's a fascinating place, they have lots of information such as videos showing the breeding programme and the history of the centre.  The Pandas are adorable, especially the babies, and one could spend hours just watching their antics.  Unfortunately we had to leave to go for lunch (another traditional Chinese banquet) before setting off to visit a Silk Factory.
Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photographs in the silk factory but the tour was extremely interesting, starting with how the silk was farmed, woven and made into the most beautiful bed covers, quilts, clothes and scarves.

We made our way back to the hotel for a short rest and a quick freshen up and change for dinner at another traditional Chinese Restaurant.   This time dinner consisted of lots of different Dim Sum and MWM even tried a local delicacy - rabbit's head!    He had to hold it in one hand and pick the meat off the skull with the other, including the brain inside!  I know YUK!    He said it was quite tasty.  I couldn't believe he tried it, this man that heaves at the thought of mashed potato!!!!

Another busy day over we looked forward to a good night's sleep back at out hotel, with it's great views

and the trip the following day to an old town and the huge Buddha carved into a mountain.  I hope you'll join me for Part 3.


Cloudia said...

Wow! Yes, the reds look like raccoon. Such a view you had!



Valerie said...

What a great post, Pearl. I loved every bit of it, especially those baby pandas and (not quite so much) the write-up about MWMs strange dinner!!!!!

katie eggeman said...

Baby pandas, now that is a good reason to visit China. We just watched a documentary, with Joely Richardson about the Wolong Panda Center, and the work they are doing. It is fascinating. Pandas are a new favorite, after Koalas, and neither are really bears. Not sure I would be able to do rabbits heads.

Daryl said...

this is fascinating .... i am so envious of your retirement ....

Commander Zaius said...

Slightly older babies are kept in cots in the nursery

That ultra level of cuteness could kill a person.

Maggie May said...

That was so lovely! I would love to see the pandas in the flesh! Baby pandas are adorable.
Maggie x

Ron said...

Helloooo there Pearl!

I am slowly making my way back to blogging, so I wanted to stop by and say HI, and also catch up with your travel posts. And as usual...they're AWESOME! OMG...I love the photographs of the baby pandas, they're ADORABLE!

Thanks so much for sharing your travels, m'dear!

Have a super week!


Jenny Woolf said...

I didn't even know captive breeding of pandas was possible, it always seems to fail whenever you hear about a zoo that has pandas. This must have been a fascinating spot. I wouldn't have touched the rabbits head, in fact it would have put me off the rest of my meal! Your trip sounds most fascinating.

CrystalChick said...

Oh, those pandas… sooooo sweet. How interesting about the twins. And that they are social when young, then solitary. Eww, gross.. rabbit head! LOL
Glad you had such a wonderful time.