Bifengxia Panda Nature Reserve
In the May 12th 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, the Wolong National Natural Reserve suffered a crushing blow and over fifty giant pandas living in captivity became completely homeless. In order to save these national treasures, Wolong National Natural Reserve has, since May 15th, carried out an evacuation plan. Twenty-seven giant pandas were transferred in batches to Chengdu, Fuzhou and Beijng, and the rest were moved to Bifengxia Panda Nature Reserve.
Bifengxia is located in Ya'an City, about 2 .5 hours by bus from Chengdu. In 2003, the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Pandas and the State Forestry Administration chose this gorge as a new giant panda base. The gorge, 'V' shaped, is composed of two small gorges, which measure 4.3 miles and 3.7 miles long respectively. Standing between 2,297 to 6,467 feet high, the Bifeng Gorge is famous for the views of varied vegetation, valleys and waterfalls. Its excellent original landscape attracts more and more visitors each year to explore its wild beauty.
Endowed with good quality water and air, Bifengxia Panda Base is a satisfactory place for the growth of pandas, and what is more important, it was only slightly damaged in the earthquake. It is a comprehensive conservation project combining tourism, research and giant panda breeding in one place. It is divided into the giant panda breeding zone, baby giant panda care zone, research center, bamboo woods and office area.
The pandas are assured of healthy growth in their new home, and good news continually flows from Bifeng xia Base. In the morning on July 6th, 2008, the panda 'Guo Guo' gave birth to the first twin cubs in the base. Guo Guo, the great panda mother, came to the base on June 24th when she was 119 days pregnant. She was really strong and brave to have these baby pandas after surviving the big earthquake, overcoming the difficulties of bumping and shaking on the long journey, and adjusting herself to the new environment. The panda twins were the first pair of giant pandas born in 2008 worldwide, which brings new hope and more power to the recovery of the earthquake-stricken area and the affected forest area.
In 2008, there were 13 baby pandas surviving in the Bifengxia Panda Base. On Feb.12nd, 2009, the base held a simple ceremony for these small pandas as they attended the panda kindergarten. It is known that the giant pandas, who temporarily live in the base, will return to the Wolong National Natural Reserve after its restoration in two or three year's time.
How to get there: Take a bus to the Bifengxia at Xin Nan Men Bus Station in Chengdu. Buses leave from Chengdu to Bifengxia at 07:40, 08:30, 09:20, 09:30, 10:10, 11:00, 11:50, 14:20, 13:10, 16:10 and 17:00, and return from Bifengxia to Chengdu at 11:00, 15:00 and 15:40. The whole journey takes about 2.5 hours.