Notes about my Panda Trip on June 2012

These are notes I have written, may be posted, on facebook or elsewhere, about my trip to Bifengxia Panda Base on 4-6th June, 2012.

Once I give Mei Sheng a panda bread. While he was eating it, he suddenly stopped and looked at me. I said hello to him. He then dropped the bread and came near the gate. Then I found that he is not coming for me. Behind me, a keeper was pulling a basket full of bamboo shoot approaching.

I saw different size of bamboo. On the first day, bamboo arrived in the morning is of 1-2 inch in diameter. Some very thick bamboo arrived in the afternoon and we have to split them. On the second day, the bamboo looks like the same as previous day, but the keepers told us they are different. The first day bamboo the pandas only eat the stem. The second day bamboo the pandas only eat the leaves. Then in the video is the third day bamboo, which the keeper said is too young/ too thin for them.

Just before I finished volunteering, I witness Mei Sheng being collected blood sample. Master Ceng took two apples, with one sliced, and called Mei Sheng. He let Mei Sheng to give his right arm, and feed Mei Sheng with apple slices one after another to keep him busy. At the same time the blood collecting staff use a small scissor to cut away some fur and collect blood with a syringe. The syringe was small, just about half the length of a pen. Mei Sheng was totally cooperative. He didn’t move a bit (except chewing apple). When it was done, Ceng gave the other apple to Mei Sheng (a small apple, uncut). Mei Sheng finished the apple and went outdoor to get some bamboo. I guess his right arm felt a bit uncomfortable because he avoided using his right hand just after blood collection. But rest assure, he went two-handed-bambooing after a while.

About Keeper Ceng

This is Master Ceng, Keeper of Mei Sheng and Gong Zhu in the new breeding centre. When I first saw Ceng, he is not particularly friendly and locks his eyebrow. But later on I found that he just won’t start a conversation. If we ask him about pandas, he gives great details. He enjoyed his work. We heard him singing while cleaning the panda enclosures. He knows pandas, and he knows his pandas very well.

Every morning cleaning time Ceng calls Mei Sheng and Gong Zhu into the indoor. The pandas respond to him even if they were eating. When they come in Ceng will close the gate and the pandas will find themselves cheated once again. I once saw Mei Sheng turned around trying to open the gate but OH NO it is locked.. Ceng will give them some boo for coming in (but it is overnight boo since new boo will not arrive so early).

On our last day there, MeiSheng is not eating the bamboo. We told the masters that Mei is so picky that he smells and throw away the bamboos (but enjoys bamboo shoots). One of them tell us that is it not that Mei is picky, but the boo is too young for them. When we were leaving that day, we cant find them to say goodbye. But we have to go. When we walk back to the volunteer centre, we found them riding a panda cart cutting down suitable bamboo for the pandas.

Trip visiting Zhen Zhen

went to emei today. The ecological park is hard to go. It is too new. Even the tourist centre in Chengdu do not know this place. We rode a bus to emei, and found that there is no taxi around. We phoned the park and they tell us to ride on a bus to le shan city and tell the driver to drop us at the park. We did so, but the driver tell us it is so close we could go by a much cheaper bus. Anyway we were there. We bought ticket for panda house only (which i think no one did this), and rush there. Finding that zz is sleeping and the ticket is for one entrance only, we were stuck in the panda house without lunch. It was just before 1 at the afternoon. She was like a tush by the door in the second pic.

We found a place to sit down and wait, hoping there will be feeding session at 2. So much time to kill I have drew a map there and capture a video walking around the panda house (will upload to fb/youtube later). At 2 there are a few tourist, and the feeder throw her some carrot and panda bread. ZZ wake and eat (still so far by the door) and sleep again. We were quite worried. Why is there no boo? Panda GeGe next to her walk near the fence, looking so hot and hungry. Breathing fast and trying to find food. Is she ok in there??

Then at about 3, a feeder throw some boo to GeGe, and we talk to her. She was from BFX, and there was also the man who throw carrot, he was also from BFX. They are quite surprised that ZZ is so famous. She told us there were two westerners (guess they are lee and darlene) and then someone from malaysia has come just for her also. And our trip was crazy, going to emei without going to the mountains, and have been staying in the panda house for so long waiting.

The feeder said they usually feed ZZ after her afternoon nap. And that she is sleeping by the doorway not because it is too hot. He told us sometimes he open the door to indoor(which is cooler) but she keeps sleeping in the doorway. He said he likes ZZ most among those three. And that you dont need to worry leaving the pandas to him. Because we were afraid getting back to Chengdu too late, we told him we are already satisfied and we are going. But he said we come a long way, then he then woke ZZ up just for us. He said he must give her something for waking her. He threw in some boo. she has shown us she dont want boo by throwing the boo away. Not that she have no boo to eat as we worried. But that he knows so well when ZZ want to eat. After a while, he put some bamboo in indoor and call ZZ, that was when I capture the ears. We are so satisfied and went back to Chengdu


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