Cute Giant Pandas at Sichuan

Giant pandas are a highly endangered species, but an UNESCO World Heritage Site in China holds more 30% of the world’s panda population. These beautiful black and white bears roam on more than 2 million acres of the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries. It is the largest remaining contiguous habitat of the giant panda and contains the most important captive breeding site. The Chinese sanctuaries include seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks in the Qionglai and Jiajin Mountains. The Wolong National Nature Reserve alone has more than 150 of this iconic bears.

The World Heritage Site in China, Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, covers more than 2,284,489 acres and is home to more than 150 giant pandas like this cute giant panda cub.

12 panda babies in a crib. The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries contain one of the most important captive breeding sites for giant pandas. A panda cub is born pink, blind, and toothless. After a week or two, the skin turns gray. At a month old, the cubs are covered in fluffy black and white fur. Each of these panda cubs will weigh 100 pounds by the time they celebrate their first birthday.

16 pandas at Wolong National Nature Reserve, a part of the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries. Some statistics claim that of the 1,590 giant pandas left living in the world, more than 300 live in zoos, breeding centers and research areas. Most “wild” pandas live in China.

Rough life for napping giant panda in Sichuan Province, China.

Cute juvenile hanging out in a tree, but panda cubs start climbing trees when they are only six months old.

Up close to a seven-month-old panda cub in the Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan, China.

Roundup of 17 giant panda cubs at Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries. On May 12, 2008, a catastrophic earthquake devastated the Chinese panda sanctuaries which included the Panda Research Center. Five security guards were killed and six pandas escaped. On May 20th, two of the giant pandas were found but they had been injured during the earthquake. On June 9, nine-year-old Mao Mao, a mother of five at the breeding center, was discovered; her body had been crushed by a wall in her enclosure at the Wolong National Nature Reserve.

Trees are natural recliners for the giant panda.

Closeup of playful panda at the Chengdu Research Base which studies giant panda breeding.

Momma and baby endangered giant pandas at the ‘captive cages’ portion of the research center.

The giant panda’s paw has five fingers and a “thumb” which help in climbing and eating bamboo.

Taken at Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuary, China. At birth, the giant panda weighs about 3 1⁄2 to 7 ounces (100 – 200 grams) and measures about 6 to 7 inches long (15 to 17 centimeters) long.

Four giant pandas climbing and sharing a tree at Wolong National Nature Reserve.

The bamboo-eating giant panda is one of the most iconic endangered species. The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries cover an area bigger than 2 million acres, includes seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks within the Qionglai and Jiajin Mountains.

Giant Pandas cuddling at Wolong.

The average giant panda eats as much as 20 to 30 pounds (9 to 14 kg) of bamboo shoots every day.

Young panda at Wolong — World Heritage Site. When fully grown, adult pandas measure about 4 to 6 feet long (1.2 to 1.8 meters) which includes their tail.

Trio of juvenile pandas at Wolong. On average, giant pandas weigh in at 220 to 250 pounds (100 to 115 kilograms). Male pandas can weigh as much 350 pounds. The weight of female pandas vary between 170 to 220 pounds.

Playful teenage giant pandas at UNESCO World Heritage Site in China

Panda’s at Wolong National Nature Reserve after the 2008 earthquake as a black and white matching kitty watches, screaming, apparently also wanting some milk.

A different take on the world, giant pandas at Chinese sanctuary.

Baby panda rides a toy in the water pond at the sanctuary.

A 20 year old giant panda bear munching on an apple at the Chinese park. The giant panda lives for about 20 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity.

Giant Panda intent upon sleeping at Wolong, Sichuan, China.

Due to farming, deforestation and other development, the giant panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived.

Group of giant pandas eating and playing at Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuary.

Natural posers, natural sleepers, giant panda at Wolong Nature Reserve.

Seven giant panda cubs snoozing together at Wolong, China. According to Wikipedia, “Initially the primary method of breeding giant pandas in captivity was by artificial insemination, as they seemed to lose their interest in mating once they were captured. This led some scientists to try extreme methods such as showing them videos of giant pandas mating and giving the males Viagra. Only recently have researchers started having success with captive breeding programs.”

While highly endangered pandas like this big fella are the most famous and sought after to be seen, the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries in China are also home to other globally endangered animals such as the red panda, the snow leopard and the clouded leopard.

The panda is believed to have first appeared 2 to 3 million years ago. Momma and baby at UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Did you know: In 1869 “it was a French missionary, Armand David, who let the whole world know of this unique creature in China.”

This mother and cub pair is at Wolong National Nature Preserve, a part of the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries. The Wolong center has two types of ‘accommodations’ for giant pandas – the Captive Cages and the Semi-nature Enclosures.

Ailuropoda melanoleuca the giant panda’s scientific name means, “black and white cat-footed animal.” These three are munching on bamboo at Chengdu’s Giant Panda Breeding Research Base.

Giant pandas snuggling at Wolong. The female giant panda gives birth between 95 and 160 days after mating. Out in the “wild,” without human intervention, only one of the two panda cubs born to each mother will survive. The giant panda cubs stay with their mothers for up to three years which means a wild female may successfully raise only five to eight cubs in her lifetime.

Lunch time at Wolong National Nature Reserve. A panda either sits or lies down to eat. Wild pandas spend most of their day resting, feeding, sleeping, or seeking food. But unlike other bears from temperate climates, giant pandas do not hibernate.

Have you ever heard a panda? The Smithsonian has recordings so you can listen to the panda at ages newborn, three months old and adult.

Juvenile giant panda just hanging around at Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan,

Panda conservation started during the 1940s in China. In 1963, the Chinese government created Wolong which now has about 100,000 visitors every year. According to research study in 2001, by Dr. Jianguo Liu, “The rate of destruction is higher after the reserve’s creation than before its creation. Using NASA’s satellite images and records of population, Liu’s research team concluded that due to tourism and the increase in local population, the reserve is facing an unprecedented threat. ‘Tourists don’t think they have an impact on panda habitat, but indirectly each visitor has some impact. We don’t see ourselves as a destructive force, but we are.’ Liu said.”

Although researchers report “pandas living in groups of 2 to 28 individuals, pandas are generally thought to be solitary animals.”

A 2006 New York Times article claimed that giant pandas kept in a zoo “costs five times more than that of the next most expensive animal, an elephant. American zoos generally pay the Chinese government $1 million a year in fees, as part of a typical ten-year contract.” If the fee can’t be paid, the pandas go back to China and the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries.

Smile and have a great day



Top 10 Viewing Platform in the World

It is exhilarating to stand on top of the world admiring the natural beauty of our planet spread beneath us. Bone-chilling ravines, steep cliffs, thundering waterfalls, snow-clad peaks or serene rivers, nature has been very kind to us. You need not be a rock climber or a mountaineer to experience planet Earth in all its glory. We have here, the most amazing viewing platforms that help us do just that. So climb atop one, and take a deep breath as you savor the view.

1. Ørnesvingen Viewing Platform, Norway

Ørnesvingen has for centuries been widely used by travellers as a place to stop and enjoy the view. The location offers a magnificent view of Geiranger town and Geiranger fjord, and the spot attracts more than 400 000 visitors every year.

2. AlpspiX Viewing Platform, Germany

At the base of Alpspitze peak, visitors will find the AlpspiX Viewing Platform hovering 13 meters (42 feet) over an empty void in the shape of an 'X' with two protruding platforms. The exceptional architecture opens unmatched views towards Zugspitze peak and the Höllental gorge and let visitors experience a spectacular alpine high.

AlpspiX is easy to reach, just 50 meters (164 feet) above the Alpspitze mountain station and next to the mountain station of the Osterfelderkopf lift. Here, the two steel beams with a length of 24 meters (79 feet) of the AlpspiX Viewing Platform jut out 13 meters (42 feet) over an empty void with the other eleven meters (66 feet) anchored in the rock. At the end of the structure, visitors reach a glass wall and have a sensational view of the nearby cliffs, the breathtaking alpine panorama and almost 1000 meters (3281 feet) down into the depths.

3. Aiguille du Midi Viewing Platform, France

Aiguille du Midi is a mountain located in the French Alps, in the Mont Blanc region. The viewing platform here makes you want to reach out and touch the Mont Blanc that lies tantalizingly ahead.

The highlight of your visit is the two-part cable car ride that starts in Chamonix, in which an altitude of 2800 m (9.200 ft) is covered in 20 mind-numbing minutes. This allows the non-mountaineers to get up close with the steep facade of this mountain as it zips past.

4. Pulpit Rock, Norway

Pulpit Rock or Preikestolen is a massive cliff 604 metres (1982 feet) above Lysefjorden, opposite the Kjerag plateau, in Forsand, Ryfylke, Norway. The top of the cliff is approximately 25 by 25 metres (82 by 82 feet) square, almost flat, and is a famous tourist attraction in Norway.

During the four summer months of 2009, approximately 130,000 people took the 3.8 km (2.4 mi) hike to Preikestolen, making it one of the most visited natural tourist attractions in Norway.

5. Langkawi Sky Bridge, Malaysia

Langkawi Sky Bridge is a 125 metre (410 ft) curved pedestrian cable-stayed bridge. It is located 700m above sea level at the peak of Gunung Mat Chinchang on Pulau Langkawi, an island in the Langkawi archipelago in Kedah.The Langkawi Sky Bridge is accessible by the Langkawi Cable Car.

The Langkawi sky-bridge in Malaysia offer magnificent views of the Andaman Sea and Thailand’s Tarutao Island. The Andaman Sea and Thailand’s Tarutao Island can be seen in the distance. Platforms at each end allow the visitors to take a breather before venturing across. There are also signs telling visitors to get off the bridge quickly in the event of an electrical storm.

6. Rainforest Observation Tower, Panama

Rainforest Observation Tower, designed to observe the tropical rainforest and its colourful wildlife (especially birds), is located around 30 kilometres from the centre of Panama City and just two kilometres from the town of Gamboa. The tower, built in a tapering framework of steel tubes, is 32 metres tall, high enough to reach the forest canopy.

The centre of the tower is made up of a spiral stairway built around a central 12-inch wide tube, which is so solid that it was used as a crane during the construction process. It has four triangular or hexagonal platforms, the highest of which provides a view out over the whole of the forest canopy. The intermediate platforms provide views of the undergrowth and mid-levels of the forest, each of which has its own environment and fauna. The framework itself, made from eight-inch-wide tubes, is made up of triangle shapes reminiscent of the petals of an enormous flower.

7. Grand Canyon Skywalk, USA

The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a transparent horseshoe-shaped cantilever bridge and tourist attraction in Arizona near the Colorado River on the edge of a side canyon in the Grand Canyon West area of the main canyon. The Skywalk extends 65ft (20m) beyond the edge of the Grand Canyon and offers an unprecedented view from 4,000 ft (1.200m) above the ground!

The Horseshoe shaped skywalk is constructed of glass walls 4 inches thick and visitors must don special scratch-proof socks as they partake in the view. The work is a true engineering feat that can hold up to 70 tons (roughly 14 African Elephants) and withstands winds of 100 mph (160 kmh).

8. Aurland Lookout, Norway

Architects Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen were commissioned to design a scenic rest-stop 2 000ft (600m) above Aurland fjord in Norway and came up with this beauty wining the first prize in Norwegian tourist routes competition.

The outermost end of the horizontal platform - which curves to form the structure's support - is closed off by a sheet of glass, offering an incredible view towards the ground for all those with the guts to make the trip to the end.

9. Dachstein Sky Walk, Austria

The Dachstein Sky Walk is formally enthroned at 2.700 m (8.860ft) above sea-level, high up on the 250m (820ft) vertical rock face of the Hunerkogel. A 360 degree panorama allows the visitor a view of Slovenia in the south to the Czech Republic in the north. This "balcony of the Alps" is distinctly higher than the platforms of the Niagara Falls or the Iguazu waterfalls in Brasil.

The viewing platform offers space for 150 guests and can be comfortably reached on the Dachstein cable car from Ramsau. Parts of the Dachstein Sky Walk platform floor have been constructed of glass, guaranteeing an amazing experience. Anyone can have a taste the peaks of the Alps without ropes, crampons or risk.

10. Canopy Tower, ‏Panama

Canopy Tower is 900ft (275m) above sea level on Semaphore Hill near the Continental Divide. The site is in the rainforest within Soberanía National Park, which was part of the former U.S. Panama Canal Zone.

The top floor of the tower has an unobstructed 360° view. It is a great place to see birds and mammals as well as the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal and the Culebra Cut, the narrowest part of the canal. The octagonal tower is on five levels.