NGO Spotlight: Pandas International

 

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Pandas International (PI) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit to help the magnificent Giant Panda. Unlike other organizations, which serve many animals, Pandas International is exclusively devoted to the Giant Panda. As part of PI’s mission, they work closely with Chinese scientists, doctors and keepers to determine what types of support are most needed. In particular, PI has been assisting the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas (CCRCGP) by providing both funding and personnel/sponsors to support Chinese research focused on how to more effectively respond to health and habitat challenges – both known and unknown.

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At the CCRCGP’s Dujiangyan Giant Panda Research Center, Pandas International supports research that focuses on several areas including pandas rescued from the wild who are sick or injured so they can receive medical care and rehabilitation. Another major focus area is senior and disabled pandas, serving as a panda “nursing home” where pandas are able to receive specialized geriatric care. For elder pandas, it is important to ensure that, as they reach their twilight years, they are provided with the necessary care to keep them comfortable and as healthy as possible. At the Dujiangyan Base, the older pandas are housed in a separate wing where the staff prepares special meals such as formula with ground bamboo (since they are not able to chew due to tooth decay and loss.) Formula helps them live a healthy life and meet all of their nutritional requirements. Once such geriatric panda, Hero Father Pan Pan was the oldest CCRCGP Panda living at Dujiangyan. Sadly, on December 28th, 2016, he died after a battle with cancer. He was 31 years old, sired over 30 cubs and is related to over 170 pandas (estimated to be one quarter of the panda population today). The staff at Dujiangyan began studying the elder Pan Pan’s health and behaviors to be better equipped to not only help him but other elder pandas as well.

The Dujiangyan Base also supports the CCRCGP’s important efforts to both raise awareness with and educate the public about the need to support Giant Panda Conservation. The base includes a Giant Panda Rescue and Education Center.  The Center includes interactive displays that help to inform the public about the lives of Giant Pandas.  There are also exhibits that provide a look at how Giant Pandas are rescued and brought to the panda base for treatment.

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Pandas International supports the Dujiangyan Base and Staff by supplying formula for sick and elderly pandas and supplying vaccines and other medications to both prevent and treat panda related diseases.  PI also sponsors technical experts and scientists who travel to the base to conduct training sessions and assist with research projects.  In addition, PI assists in sponsoring conferences and studies to raise awareness and better understand the challenges that Giant Pandas face during their lives including diseases and how to treat them, the re-introduction program into the wild and how to assist in “reconstructing” panda habitats to support efforts to increase genetic diversity.

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