How to become a panda nanny
The first thing that comes to your mind when you think of pandas is probably the WWF (World Wide Fund For Nature) as a panda has been the organization's logo since it was founded. Therefore this animal, which is recognized by its distinctive black patches, is the most powerful symbol in the field of wildlife and species conservation. Besides that, the giant panda is also the emblem and ‘national treasure’ of its home country China. It can be found in remote mountain ranges in central China (e.g. Chengdu area), which is their only natural habitat. You probably already know that bamboo is their favorite and main food. But do you also know how much time a panda spends eating its favorite food? It’s a total of 14 hours per day! Besides eating, the animals also like to spend their day sleeping and climbing. As their weight can reach up to 115 kilograms, it’s needless to say they like to take things slow.
🐼 How to become a panda nanny?
The care and welfare of pandas kept in captivity is the responsibility of panda nannies, often referred to as panda keepers or panda handlers. These cherished creatures serve as a global emblem of conservation efforts in addition to being a national treasure in China. Those who love animals and are passionate about conservation will find that working as a panda nanny is both gratifying and demanding. You can follow these procedures to train to be a panda nanny.
- Earn a degree in biology or a related field
- Gain experience working with animals
- Learn Mandarin
- Get certified
- Apply for a panda nanny job
You'll need to have a solid background in biology and animal behavior to work with pandas. Your ability to comprehend the nuances of panda biology, behavior, and care will be enhanced by having a degree in biology, zoology, wildlife biology, or a similar discipline. Look for courses that include fieldwork or internships where students may interact directly with animals.
A panda nanny must have previous experience handling and caring for animals because working with animals is a hands-on profession. Seek out possibilities to work or volunteer at zoos, animal shelters, wildlife rehabilitation facilities, or other places that provide care for animals. Working with different animal species, such bears, primates, or big cats, will provide you experience.
Since pandas are indigenous to China, many panda conservation initiatives are headquartered there. You must be able to converse with the Chinese employees and volunteers in order to work as a panda nanny. Finding panda nanny employment will be much easier if you know Mandarin.
You must be licensed by either the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda or the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to work with pandas. Passing a written exam and proving your proficiency in panda biology, behavior, and care are prerequisites for certification.
You may begin applying for panda nanny jobs once you have your degree, experience, language abilities, and certification. To work with pandas, look for jobs at zoos, wildlife refuges, or conservation facilities all across the world. Be ready to face up against many other competent applicants who are vying for a small number of positions.
Anyone who enjoys working with animals and wants to contribute to the protection of pandas may consider becoming a panda nanny. It is a tough and rewarding job. If you possess a solid background in biology, animal behavior, language, and experience, you may apply for a position as a panda nanny and begin improving the lives of these adored animals.
🐼 Panda conservation status 2023
It is estimated that there are about 1,600 giant pandas living in the wild nowadays, but the population is slowly and continually rising. There are an additional 400 pandas in captivity, according to Pandas International. A great development, that also had the effect that the animals were reclassified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) from being ‘endangered’ to the status of being ‘vulnerable’. Nevertheless, the giant pandas are still the most endangered bears in the world and rely on the help of conservation projects and volunteers that support such projects. But what are the major threats to the giant pandas?
🐼 Why are Giant Pandas Endangered?
The pandas are mostly endangered because of unregulated deforestation and farming. Due to China’s rising population, a large part of the pandas’ wild habitat is already gone and used for infrastructural or agricultural reasons. Therefore giant panda conservation projects are of great importance as they provide a safe space for pandas, where they receive enough food and can reproduce. You want to get to know these amazing animals and volunteering in the field of giant panda conservation sounds interesting to you? Then keep on reading. In the following, you will find more detailed information all about giant panda conservation and how you can help.
🌏 Best Places to Volunteer with Giant Pandas
As we have already explained, pandas can only be found in central China, namely the regions of Chengdu, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu . If you are looking to volunteer with pandas in China, you will also get to know the country and gain a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture. The projects aim to introduce their volunteers to the Chinese culture, local values and beliefs. China offers not only spectacular tourist attractions but also an amazing and stunning landscape to explore.
After you have completed your daily tasks at the conservation project you are attending, there is a variety of different ways getting to know the country you are staying at. Together with your fellow volunteers, you are able to attend to activities like:
- Exploring local attractions
- Learning about traditional Chinese food (dumpling making)
- Learn the Chinese language
- Attend classes on Chinese calligraphy
🐼 How Do I Volunteer with Pandas?
The kind of work that you will be doing as a panda conservation volunteer depends on the project that you decide to sign up for. You can find detailed information about the tasks in each program on the program pages and contact the program coordinator for additional questions. In the following, we will give you an overview of all the different tasks you can expect to be doing when you join a panda conservation project.
🐼 What Will I Do as a Volunteer at a Panda Sanctuary?
If you are thinking about becoming a volunteer in giant panda conservation, you have the possibility to choose from a variety of different projects that are located in China. At a panda sanctuary (also known as a panda "base" you have the chance to get to know these rare and interesting animals, actively help with their care, collect important data on the animal's behavior and a lot more. Depending on what you are looking for during your time volunteering, the following introduction into the different tasks will be helpful for you to find the perfect project for you.
There are different tasks that your work is going to entail. If you are working hands-on with the giant pandas, your help is needed in a number of ways. Of course, your main task is to provide basic care for the animals, but depending on the program you also might get the chance to collect important data on the animals which is of major importance for further projects in the field of giant panda conservation. In order for you to get an idea of what your tasks can be, take a look at the following list:
- Cleaning of the pandas’ enclosures
- Food preparation ( bamboo, apples, panda bread, carrots)
- Feeding the pandas in Chengdu
- Chop and carry bamboo
- Help to provide medical care for the giant pandas
- Collection of behavioral data of the animals
- Help out in the field of research and veterinary projects (occasionally)
The main aim of the different projects is of course to create an environment in which the pandas are safe and can be properly cared for. Even though the animals have been downgraded and are no longer on the list of the endangered animals, help is still needed for the species to survive.
🎁 4 Benefits of Volunteering with Pandas
Seeing pandas from up close and studying their behavior is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will never forget. That alone is reason enough for many people to pack their bags and volunteer with pandas in Chengdu (China). But apart from that, there are plenty of other reasons why this kind of volunteer work could be the right choice for you.
If you are interested in studying biology or veterinary medicine, a volunteer program working with pandas will be a great fit. You will gain hands-on experience and get a first insight into the daily work of trained wildlife experts and biologists, which will certainly come in handy at a later point in your career. Being able to list this kind of work experience on your CV is another bonus, even if you are not planning on pursuing a career in this field. It shows that you are capable of physically hard and hands-on work and that you are motivated to volunteer your free-time to a meaningful cause.
Improve your Language Skills
You might get to refine your language skills whilst working on site as the main language spoken is English. And who knows, maybe you pick up some Chinese words or signs along the way as well? Immersing yourself in a foreign culture and living abroad will definitely make you grow as a person and give you a different perspective. And let’s not forget that the time you spend as a panda conservation volunteer will also be incredibly fun! You will get to enjoy all the perks of living in pure nature, like seeing wild animals from up close, getting back to your roots and facing new challenges.
Make new Friends Abroad
The best part is that you will be surrounded by like-minded individuals that share your passion for panda and wildlife conservation. After working and living together for a while, these people might even become your close friends! If you think that joining a panda conservation project as a volunteer is just what you were looking for, then go ahead and get started right now! We would love to help you find the right project for you!
IN THE WILD EW