Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center


Located a few miles outside of Chengdu, this facility has been quite successful in captive breeding of giant pandas, most of them destined for the world's zoos, but some also intended for return to the wild. The center also serves as a sort of panda zoo, where red pandas, giant pandas, and their cubs may be viewed in greater numbers than almost anywhere else.


While we are able to see several panda cubs in the nursery, photography is not allowed there, so alas the only pandas I can show you are adults.

Panda Breeding Center
Statue of pandas

Walking into the park

The entrance to the park is lined with bamboo -- the favorite (and only) food of the Giant Panda.

Red panda in tree
Red panda on ground

These are red pandas (also known as lesser pandas or firefoxes). As their appearance suggests, they are more closely related to racoons than to giant pandas, and in fact red pandas are not actually even bears. Their species is just as endangered as the giant pandas, however.

Giant panda

My, what big teeth you have, Grandmother!

Giant panda in tree

Happiness is a snug tree.

Ron with panda
Justin with panda

Ron and Justin pose with a giant panda.

Giant panda eating
Giant panda


The park is beautifully landscaped, but as you may guess from these pictures, there is a lot of haze. In fact, a thick blanket of smog hovers over all of Chendu and surrounding areas, at this time of year anyway. It was like this at Leshan and on Emei Shan, too. Note to photographers: it is 11:15AM, and with an ISO setting of 1600 these two pictures are taken at f/9, 1/250 sec! That is 5 EVs lower than a typical bright day without smog.