Earthwatch and the scientists we support in their efforts to stave off extinction for the great panda are pleased to be able to report that from May to October of 2012, more than 50 individual volunteers traveled at their own expense to Chengdu, Sichuan, China to assist vital research efforts on seven different teams. Along with the support of Global Giving donors, including, especially, those who found this project through Animal Planet's 2012 R.O.A.R. campaign, they stood up for pandas and their habitats in the face of possible extinction.
Pandas face a rough set of odds in China and elsewhere: they are slow to breed, do not produce many offspring, are naturally curious and trusting, have sensitive nutrient needs, and their habitats are under tremendous threats from development, climate change, and other blows to biodiversity.
With your help, though, the researchers on this project took steps forward in 2012 in both reintroducing some pandas to the wild in protected areas, and in continuing a successful captive breeding project to preserve the species.
Here are just a few comments from Earthwatch volunteers who fielded on this project between May and October, 2012, and whose work you helped support:
"Being able to photograph and touch actual pandas were some of the best parts of this experience. 'Panda Kindergarten' at the base was great because the pandas were so active and you could see the babes in the nursery. The dedication shown by the project leaders, our guides, and the panda keepers was inspiring. It's wonderful to know that we contributed to efforts that may keep these animals from becoming extinct."—Keiko Y.
"It was a privilege to be with this endangered species."--Edward P.
"This project is gaining so much knowledge about how to reintroduce pandas to the wild. It's clear the scientists all feel this work will experience great successes down the road."--Connie A.