Home Giant Pandas Volunteer Programs

How to Take Part in a Giant Panda Volunteer Program

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 You Can Engage in a Volunteer Program — Dujiangyan and Wolong

giant panda

Currently, Dujiangyan Base and Wolong Base offer giant panda volunteer programs.

Dujiangyan Panda Base was established in 2014, and has 20 pandas. The base focuses on breeding, wilderness training, and releasing of pandas into the wild. It’s about 1½ hours from Chengdu by car. Read more on Dujiangyan Base.

Wolong is known as “the real hometown of giant pandas”. Wolong Panda Base was devastated by the earthquake in 2008. Now it has been reopened, it also provides a panda volunteer program, and there are about 30 giant pandas. You can hike in panda habitat to explore panda’s hometown. Wolong Base is about 3 hours from Chengdu by car.

Who Can Join a Volunteer Program — 12–65-Year-Olds

panda volunteer programChildren making cakes for pandas

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 Volunteer Programs May 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 a Panda Volunteer Program Consists Of

panda volunteer program

giant panda Making 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)

Panda Volunteer Program Tips

panda 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.

  • 1. Please do not make noises or sudden movements that might startle the pandas.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. Do not take photos or videos unless it’s allowed. 

Dress Code

To protect yourself when carrying bamboo, please do not wear short pants or slippery footwear. Also, pandas have a very keen sense of smell. As you will get very close to them during the tour, please do not wear perfume or nail polish. Our sincere thanks for your extra care and respect towards the pandas.

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

More Giant Panda Volunteer Program Tours

Panda Volunteer ProgramParticipants cleaning a panda enclosure

You could customize our other tours to include a panda keeper experience, or use our expertise to tailor-make your own panda program trip. Or see our tours below for inspiration:

Related Articles