TORONTO – With fewer than 1,000 giant pandas left in the world, travelers on Planeterra’s new Project China voluntour will have an opportunity to directly participate in efforts to protect this endangered species. Voluntourists at the Bifengxia Research Centre will work with trained conservationists in meeting the day to day needs of its resident bears, many of which were relocated from Wolong Center, previously the world’s largest panda conservation center. Wolong was badly damaged by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. New for 2010, this tour is just 1 of 11 new programs Planeterra has added to its range of over 20 voluntours in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Planeterra’s Director, Richard G. Edwards sees this tour as an unusual opportunity to be able to conduct this kind of voluntourism in China.
“This voluntour will give our travelers a chance to work in China at the largest panda reserve in the world, while also visiting many highlights of one of the most culturally rich nations in the world. It’s an unparalleled reward, knowing our volunteer work is helping preserve these animals for the future.”
The 14-day adventure begins in Shanghai and ends in Beijing, with visits to the Great Wall, the Song Dynasty capital of Luoyang famous for its fighting monks and home of kung fu, the terracotta warriors of Xi’an, the cuisine of Chengdu and the Bifengxia Panda Centre. Volunteer duties include gathering bamboo and supplementary foods for the pandas and helping to keep the areas and enclosures clean.
Trip dates for 2010 run from June to November.
Identified by need and then targeted for volunteer support, Planeterra has expanded its voluntour offerings in 2010 to include a number of new and exciting destinations. The eleven new programs include:
Project Cuzco Kids
Project Ecuador Family
Project Ecuador Highlands
Project El Salvador
Project Peru Amazon
Project Cambodia and Laos
Project South Africa