Fellow Denis Page has created a new series of trips and itineraries – called Longitude 80 – that focus on Asia-Pacific’s most iconic wildlife. The departures were created with photography and conservation enthusiasts in mind and will deliver unique encounters with this region’s animals. All Longitude 80 departures include local guides and experts who will accompany the group throughout the trip to assist in delivering the latest in conservation and habits for each species. Each departure is on-demand, private and exclusive.
Denis shares details about one of the Longitude 80 trips centered around Pandas:
There are an estimated 1864 pandas left in the wild. There is something almost comical about these bears when you first see them. The fluffiness, the black and white coat, those big black eye patches and the fact that most of the time we see them sitting down and eating bamboo makes one want to walk up and cuddle them. But the panda has now become the most powerful symbol in the world when it comes to species conservation, along with being adopted by Chinese as one of their national symbols and the logo for World Wildlife Fund makes the panda a unique ambassador.
But when you consider that their life span in the wild is only 20 years, 60% of the male pandas exhibit no sexual desire to reproduce and that the female pandas are fertile 3 days per year makes Darwin turn in his grave when we realize how much money and effort is spent to help this species survive. One only has to see how well looked after the bears are, fed with the best bamboo, housed in air-conditioned enclosures to realize nothing is spared to help them survive.
China and many conservation agencies worldwide are embarking on a huge project aimed at increasing the population in the wild to 2100 by 2025, from gene pool sharing around zoos to huge tracts of land being linked across wild areas of Sichuan mountains to allow the bears to move freely. The itinerary will allow an intense 6 days spent in the company of these animals, meeting with handlers, reserve technicians and conservation specialists to understand the plight of the panda and the many challenges they face. You’ll visit the 5 reserves across Sichuan and will be part of a 2-day volunteer program in one of the reserves helping in enclosure maintenance, food handling and cleaning allowing you a close look at the bears. Your local guide has spent over 4 years guiding across the reserves and our accommodation is very comfortable. You will also deliver a taste of Sichuan food, explore tea houses and stroll through wonderful city parks at night while locals compete in ball room dancing performances.
Dates: The best months are April and September, avoid the weeks of May 1st and October 1st as they are Chinese national week long holidays.
Contact Denis to learn more.