Home Giant Pandas How to Do Giant Panda Volunteer Programs in Chengdu, China

How to Do Giant Panda Volunteer Programs in Chengdu, China

Feeding the pandaFeeding a panda

Giant panda volunteer programs give participants a unique experience of close contact with giant pandas. During the programs, participants learn about giant pandas through working with skilled panda keepers and researchers in taking care of the pandas. At the end of the program, each participant is issued a panda volunteer certificate.

Where Can I Join a Volunteer Program?

Currently, only Dujiangyan Base, 1½ hours’ drive from Chengdu, offers a giant panda volunteer program. Dujiangyan is a newly-opened giant panda base, which has 20 pandas. The base focuses on breeding, wilderness training, and releasing of pandas into the wild. Read more on Dujiangyan Base.

Bifengxia Giant Panda Base, the largest giant panda base in the world, has suspended its program. We will update the information on our site when it reopens.

Who Can Join a Volunteer Program?

The age restriction of volunteer is between 12 to 65 years old. Even though the pandas look harmless, they are carnivores. Parents must ensure that they prevent their children from coming into direct contact with the pandas. The cost for children of 12 years old and above is the same as the cost for adults.

If your children are between 2–11 years old, you can still take them with you during the program. Your guide will help to take care of them. The cost for children in this age group is around US$120 cheaper per person than the price for adults.

If your children are under 2 years old and you take care of them throughout the day, no tour cost is needed.

When May Volunteer Programs Be Unavailable?

Programs may become fully booked, as there is a limited number of places on volunteer programs each day. We recommend booking at least one week in advance.

Giant panda volunteer programs are not available during the Chinese New Year Holiday (in late January or early/mid February).

They are probably available during Labor Day (May 1) and Chinese National Day (October 1). However, you should contact us to confirm one month in advance.

What Does a Panda Volunteer Program Consist Of?

panda volunteer program

Giant Panda volunteer programMaking panda cakes

Volunteer activities may include:

  • A tour around the panda base
  • Learning about giant pandas and how to perform panda behavior research
  • Watching documentary films about giant pandas
  • Cleaning and weighing fresh bamboo
  • Feeding the pandas (usually through the cage bars, for safety reasons)
  • Cleaning panda enclosures
  • Collecting and weighing the pandas’ feces (one of the most effective ways of monitoring the pandas' health)

How to Take a Volunteer Program


Because giant pandas typically lead a solitary life, sometimes it is very hard for them to tolerate outside influence. It is best not to disturb their peaceful life for their health, and some of the activities might therefore be changed.

The activities are subject to the panda base's arrangements, according to what is deemed best for the pandas, which is beyond our control. We suggest volunteers have a patient and cooperative attitude.

  • Please do not make noises or sudden movements that might startle the pandas.
  • Please do not approach or throw food to the pandas, unless the panda keeper tells you to do so. It might disturb the panda’s eating regime and cause them to become sick.
  • Follow the panda keeper’s instructions. For your safety, do not get into the cage, touch the adult pandas or let them touch you, unless the panda keeper tells you to do so.
  • Do not take photos or videos unless it’s allowed. Taking photos of pandas will incur extra costs.

One-Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper Program Tour

Departure: Daily

The Panda Keeper Program tour has been fully booked from October 1st to 6th, 2016. Please avoid booking on these dates.


7:00am: Our guide and driver pick you up from your hotel in Chengdu.

8:30am–11:30am: Arrive at Dujiangyan Base and begin your tour. You will learn more about the pandas, and help take care of them. The activities may include cleaning panda enclosures, feeding pandas, and making panda cakes.

11:30am–2:00pm: Lunch at the canteen of Dujiangyan Base. And then watch a panda movie that lasts for about 40 minutes.

2:00pm–3:30pm: Continue the program in the afternoon.

3:30pm–4:00pm: The panda keeper program finishes. You will receive a panda keeper certificate. Transfer back to your hotel in Chengdu.

5:30 pm: Arrive at your hotel in Chengdu.

Price inclusions:

  • Entrance to Dujiangyan Base
  • Dujiangyan Base Panda Keeper Program fee
  • English speaking guide
  • Private transfers between your hotel in Chengdu and the panda base
  • Simple lunch

Price exclusions:

  • Costs for photos/videos of pandas and holding pandas
  • Customer purchases at the base
  • Anything else not mentioned on the itinerary

Find more details and options on One-Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper Program Tour.

More Giant Panda Volunteer Program Tours

The above itinerary is part of our popular 4-Day Panda Keeper and Chengdu Highlights Tour.

Or if you are planning a family tour to see highlights of China and also experience the Panda Keeper Program, please see our 12-Day Giant Panda, Yangtze Cruise, and Golden Triangle Family Tour for inspiration.

You could also customize our other Chengdu tours to include a panda keeper experience, or use our expertise to tailor-make your own panda program trip.