Giant Pandas at Beijing Zoo: China: Travel Thoughts 6

© irene waters 2020

Giant Pandas are no longer classified as an endangered species according to the WWF however there are only 1,864 left in the wild and 400 in captivity. That would make it seem to me that they are incredibly vulnerable. The only place they live in the wild is in remote mountainous regions of central China. Beijing zoo first exhibited Pandas at the zoo in 1955 and commenced a breeding program in 1975. There are only two Pandas in captivity that are not owned by China and they are found at a zoo in Mexico. Zoos will pay a fortune (around a million dollars) to rent one per year. If the Panda breeds whilst rented a huge tax is charged. There are no Pandas in Australia so I was keen to see the Pandas in Beijing Zoo.

© irene waters 2020

Along with thousands of other people. We had left our accomodation early and stopped on the way to the zoo to see a pearl factory. I can tell you no-one on our bus was happy with this arrangement. It was not a stop on the itinerary and as far as we were concerned this ate into our zoo time. Being a Saturday there were no restrictions on cars travelling to the city and the roads were jammed. By the time we arrived we had approximately one hour for our zoo visit.

© irene waters 2020

Initially, following the throng we came to the Panda exhibitions. It was depressing. It was like Taronga Park Zoo had been in the sixties and seventies.Cement floors, pretend bamboo – a totally unnatural environment. The Panda lay asleep in the back corner. Luckily an experience in Hong Kog trying to queue for a toilet had taught me how to push and shove with the rest of them and I managed to get next to the glass to get a photograph. This is all that most of our group saw. Roger and I luckily decided to escape the crowds and we came upon a brand new purpose built Panda house.

© irene waters 2020

Here they had made a big effort to get it right for the Pandas. No doubt their breeding program worked better with happy Pandas. The viewers had various platforms from which they could see and the Pandas had toys, places to hide and real vegetation.

© irene waters 2020

Giant Pandas are neither nocturnal or diurnal falling into a third category of animals that are crepuscular – only active twice a day – at dawn and dusk. You can see that our visit didn’t occur at either of these times and all the pandas we saw were out for the count.

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

Above is another view of the new Panda house with yet another sleeping Panda. Pandas are classified as a poorly evolved creature as it was meant to be carnivorous but instead relies soley on bamboo for its poor source of nutrition and has to eat an awful lot of it in order to get the nutrients required.

© irene waters 2020

We left the Panda house and had a quick (and I mean quick) look around. What we saw was again housing that left us depressed for the animals and the birds.

© irene waters 2020

I’ve always loved baboons although this poor one looks like he has a pressure sore.

Some kind of bird of prey.

© irene waters 2020

This Royal Pheasant had the run of the grounds, obviously not a flight risk.

© irene waters 2020

Spring can be seen in the blossoms. The crowds were nowhere near as thick outside the Panda house. Time to go

© irene waters 2020

Outside as we left the zoo we saw the one and only shanty town slum that we were to see in China. There was no doubt with the trucks and eathworking equipment in the vicinity that these too would soon not be seen. We were off to the airport – to visit the Venice of China Suzhou.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
This entry was posted in photography, travel, Travel Theme and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Giant Pandas at Beijing Zoo: China: Travel Thoughts 6

  1. Tina Schell says:

    So disappointing Irene but at least you saw them. Glad the new house is an improvement. At least in the US zoos are working to create better environments. I have such mixed feelings. Having seen the wild animals in Africa it makes me so sad to see any creature restricted, but if not for zoos many would never see these gorgeous creatures. It’s a conundrum for sure. I hope you enjoy China’s Venice – we loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with the mixed feelings. Australia too is making zoos much more compatible with the animals lifestyles. Australia zoo is quite marvellous. All our zoos do breeding programs of endangered animals so I can’t be against them on principle because without them there are some animals that we wouldn’t have today. Also, for many it is the only way they will ever see these magnificent creatures. I loved Suxhou also – in fact China far exceeded my expectations.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Marsha says:

    What an interesting trip. Mom and I visited the London Zoo years ago, and were so disappointed in it. The areas were tiny. I don’t remember seeing any pressure sores though. Poor things. I agree that it is a mixed bag. Most of us don’t get to Africa or Asia to see the exotic animals. I visited a wonderful museum in Healesville, Vic. with two blogging friends and one friend of a blogger. It was one of the highlights of my trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All zoos going back a bit left a lot to be desired but people didn’t know better at the time. These days most try to make the animal enclosures conducive to the happiness of the animal. Beijing is making a start with its new Panda enclosures but the rest of the zoo seems to have missed out so far. We haven’t done much travel in Victoria but I will put Helesville in the memory bank as a place to visit. Glad you enjoyed it and even nicer to do it with blogging friends – that must have been a buzz.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s