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It's a Wonderful Panda World

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Development in China has been so rapid over the past few decades that it has sometimes outstripped practicality. Mega-construction projects have lined the pockets of developers and provided employment for millions but many grandiose developments, including entire cities, lie virtually abandoned. Chengdu may be 2,000 kilometres from the futuristic cities of Shanghai and Shenzen, but it is an ultra-modern city with entire districts of hi-tech and innovation centres, However, things are not always what they appear to be in China. For instance our current hotel in Chengdu could well be a hundred years old...
But it was actually built just 9 years ago, together with an entire area of ancient looking stores, close to a seemingly historic monastery. However, despite its appearance, most of this Buddhist complex was actually constructed in the 1990s...
The Wenshu Zen Buddhist monastery may have started life in the 17th century but little if anything remains of the original. The monastery's major purpose today appears to be providing inexpensive meals to Buddhists and tourists alike.
Just as things in China aren't always as they appear, our blogs can sometimes be a little misleading. So you won't be surprised o learn that we didn't actually come all this way to Chengdu to visit the world's largest building. As much as we were a little miffed at finding the immense place under renovation and almost deserted, the truth is we actually came to Chengdu to visit some of the rarest, (and cudliest), creatures on earth – the giant pandas...
Approximately 1,800 wild pandas live in the remote mountains of Sichuan and Yunnan in western China, but they are rarely seen by humans. A further 168 pandas live at The Chengdu Base of Panda Research on the outskirts of Chendu and we took an early morning trip to catch them at their breakfast time...
Pandas are very fussy eaters – surviving entirely on the young stems of only certain kinds of bamboo.

Bamboo has very poor nutritional value so the pandas have to eat large quantities and spend long periods resting while their digestive systems get to work. As one sign at the research centre said, “Pandas are not lazy – they are just very energy efficient.” This one was lying down on the job and looked particularly efficient...
Despite their weight, pandas are excellent climbers and spend a lot of time hanging about in the trees...
Their cousins, the much smaller red pandas, also like to climb, but this little fella preferred to stay on the ground and join us as we walked around ...
These cute furry creatures look a bit like raccoons, but they are as rare in the wild as the giant pandas.
Now we are on the downhill leg of our journey and are leaving Chengdu to board a ship for a leisurely cruise on the Yangtze River. For the next few days we will be sailing across the centre of China from Chongqing to Wuhan and will be taking a break from the blogisphere. We hope to meet up with you again at the Three Gorges Dam next weekend. In the meantime here's another happy mother and baby....

Posted by Hawkson 18:46 Archived in China

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Now I see the cuteness in Raccoons.

by Janet

Pretty special animals. I see the draw now to Chengdu. I was wondering.......

by Sue Fitzwilson

Oh wow! How lucky you are to witness these beautiful creatures. A great playmate for Teddy, mum please bring one home!

by Pippa

Pippa, you will have to come youself❤️Mum x

by Christine Lloyd

Wow. Such diverse coloring between the two types. Makes you wonder what evolutionary advantages are at play here. Neither seems well camouflaged in a bamboo forest!

by Tom Whalley

Thats a red panda! My favourite animal :)

by aussirose

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