Wolong National Nature Reserve is located in the boundaries of Wenchuan County, Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, by the left bank of upper reach of Minjiang River and the east slope of Gonglai Mountain, and 134 kilometers away from the capital city Chengdu. The Reserve is 52 kilometers long from east to west, and 62 kilometers wide from south to north, covering an area of about 700,000 hectares. Established in 1963, the Reserve joined the International Man and Biosphere Reserve Network of UNESCO in 1980, and its main targets for protection are forest ecosystem and precious animals like giant pandas.It was placed on UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve Network in 1980.Wolong Nature Reserve and The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda is home to over 6,000 species of plants and animals, and is one of the last protected homes of both the giant and red pandas. Wolong Nature Reserve has a dedicated staff to ensure the survival of the species.
In the Reserve there are over 50 species of animals and 300 species of birds. The number of giant pandas here approximately accounts for one tenth of the total, and therefore Wolong National Nature Reserve is also identified as homeland of giant pandas. Besides giant pandas, red pandas, golden pheasants, white-eared pheasants and Chinese monals as well as the stunning Firethroats, golden monkeys and Musk Deer can also be found here. Most of these animals live in temperate coniferous and broadleaved mixed forest between the altitude of 2,200-3,600 meters.
The semi-nature enclosures of the Wolong Giant Panda Center are very large wild areas but protected by border fences. Those giant pandas that will soon be released back to the wild will be put in the semi-nature enclosures for a long enough period of time for them to adapt to the natural environment. Although food has to be provided, the giant pandas will sleep there, eat there and recover their natural survival skills there until they can be released back to the wild.The Wolong Panda Base is being moved to a new location still within the Wolong Nature Reserve closer to the town of Gengda. Construction is currently underway. Bamboo will be planted in and around the new base, the main area for the Giant Panda reintroduction training. Bamboo will be planted in approximately 10 hectors (about 25 acres). This bamboo will be used for the captive Giant Panda population along with any wild Giant Pandas who choose to eat it.
In this area there are several scenic spots that belong to the list of World Natural Heritage, such as the Wolong Panda Reserve, Siguniang Mountain, and Jiajin Mountain, which in total cover an area of 9,245 square kilometers. Twelve counties from four cities including Chengdu, Aba, Ya’an, and Ganzi are covered by the three natural heritages. More than thirty percent of the wild pandas in the whole world inhabit in this area, and it is also the biggest panda habitat as well as one of the areas on earth with the most abundant species of plants next to the tropical rain forest.
Known as the hometown of pandas, a precious biological gene bank, and a natural zoo as well as arboretum, Wolong Natural Reserve enjoys high popularity and fame all over China as well as the rest of the world. Besides the abundant species of animals and plants, mineral resources are also widely distributed here. More than one hundred pandas now inhabit in the reserve, accounting for about ten percent of the total number in China.
Wolong Natural Reserve has very unique geographical conditions and complicated topographies. The scenery here is very beautiful and various, and the climate is quite agreeable. High mountains, clean rivers, big forest, deep caves and steep cliffs are all existed here. Moreover, the unique cultures of the Tibetan and Qiang nationalities here are both charming and fascinating. On this land, the panda garden and the breeding base for lesser pandas which are smaller than pandas and have different colors of furs, have been built. The Panda Museum, which is up to now the only museum in China that contains only one single specie of animals. An observing station for doing research on wild pandas has also been constructed inside the reserve.
The Breeding Base of Lesser Pandas
This is a special breeding base for half-wild and half-raising lesser pandas. Visitors have the opportunity to personally feel the environment where lesser pandas live. The lovely lesser pandas here sometimes walk to the tourists, behave in a spoiled manner and ask for food. And sometimes they just play with each other on the trees, in the woods or on the grassland. People always begin to love them at first sight.
The Panda Garden
This is the largest panda-raising stable in the world. There are 66 pandas ranging from different ages now living inside. Visitors could learn about the life of pandas as well as the research work done by experts. In spring when flowers bloom, tourists have the chance to enjoy the courtship songs of pandas as well as watch the interesting scenes when pandas mate with each other. In golden autumn, you may be able to watch the whole birthing process of baby pandas. The greatest gift for visitors will be taking photos with pandas here. They could be permitted to stand close to the pandas and then take pictures together, personally appreciating the harmony between nature, animals and human beings. That must be a wonderful experience for visitors.
China Wolong Panda Museum
As the only one panda museum in China, the name of this place on the gate was written by former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji. There are mainly six parts of exhibitions inside, showing visitors the living environment, historical evolution, characters, concomitant animals, and artificial feeding, breeding, research and protection of pandas, and the last part is about the history and development of this natural reserve. Visitors are also able to learn about the love and care to pandas from international organizations and friends, the achievements accomplished after the launching of international cooperation on research of pandas, and more detailed information and mysteries of this cute animal.
With an altitude of 2,589 meters, this is the earliest-built observing station for wild pandas. It is also the most densely inhabited area of wild pandas and the best-preserved original ecological environment in which pandas live. In the past it was opened only to Chinese and foreign experts who came to make on-the-spot investigations and researches. Nowadays in order to let more and more people care and learn more about pandas, besides animal experts, a small number of visitors could be admitted to come into this area, and that number could be no more than ten tourists per month. This small number of visitors must be of excellent physical, mental and moral qualities. They should apply earlier and the permission will be given according to the time order of the applications.
Gengda Wolong Panda Center
Plans for the rebuilding of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong Nature Reserve are underway.Geological studies confirmed the danger of rebuilding at the original Wolong Panda Center and a safer location has been selected 23 km away in Gengda Town in the Wolong Special Administration Region.
The center is still within the large Wolong Nature Reserve but divided into two sections. It is a Panda base integrating scientific research, captive breeding and reintroduction into the wild.The area in Shengshuping is for captive breeding and in Huangcaoping the concentration is on reintroduction training.There is a 1,500 sq meter research laboratory, and a 1,500 sq meter Panda Hospital. There are 59 enclosures with a staff office for each 3 to 5 enclosures. Each enclosure has both an indoor and an outdoor area.There is also an office building, a management building, a food processing center, a storage building, a training center, and staff facilities.A large bamboo forest covering 275.6 hectares is being planted for the captive Giant Pandas.The entire grounds have a 5 km foot path.
A new Disease Control Center has been completed at Juandongguo of Shiqiao Village, Qingchen Mountain Town in the Dujiangyan city. This area is more centrally located and closer to other reserves. This center includes a research laboratory, a Giant Panda hospital, 40 enclosures and office buildings and serves both wild and captive Giant Pandas.