About the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
The giant panda is a rare and beloved animal that only inhabits the six major mountain ranges in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces of China. With a population of less than 2000, the species is included on the endangered list by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and is protected by China’s Wildlife Protective Law as the special-class protected animal. Giant pandas are appreciated and cherished by humans the world over; their familiar black and white faces and rounded ears endearing them to children and adults alike. Because of its prominent scientific research value, endangered status, and delightful viewing value, the giant panda is considered a national treasure of China. Though small in number, giant pandas have visited many countries and served as envoys of friendship from China to the world.
Chengdu has been the ancestral homeland to giant pandas since ancient times. Fossil records indicate pandas inhabited this area as recently as 4000 years ago. Chengdu’s location at the center of the corridor-like belt ranging from the Qinling Mountains in the north to the Minshan, Qionglai, Daxiangling, Xiaoxiangling. and Liangshan Mountain place it solidly in the native habitat of the giant panda. This area, located in the heart of one of 34 hot spots of biological diversity of the globe, is inhabited by 73 species of rare animals and over 2000 species of plants. Fifty giant pandas populate four reserves established in the giant panda habitat covering an area of 1500 km2 in Dujiangyan, Pengzhou, Chongzhou, and Dayi areas.The campaign for giant panda conservation began in earnest on January 17, 1953 when a wild panda was found in Yutang, a town near the city of Dujiangyan. He was rescued and relocated to Chengdu’s Futoushan Breeding Facility at the Chengdu Zoo, the precursor to the modern day Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. This, marked the first giant panda rescue since the development of the People’s Republic of China. Chengdu deserves to be called “The Home of the Giant Panda” as it the metropolitan area nearest to the center of the panda’s natural habitat. Just 70 kilometers away from downtown Chengdu sits the heart of giant panda country. At elevations from 350m to 5600m above sea level, it is the only place with both wild and captive giant pandas in the world.
In order to rescue and protect the endangered giant panda species, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding was established in March 1987 with the mission to further the research and conservation carried out by the Chengdu Zoo. Its formation was sanctioned by Chengdu’s municipal government and came under the support structures of the Ministry of Housing and Urban – Rural Development of the People’s Republic of China (formerly the Ministry of Construction), the State Forestry Administration, PRC (formerly State Forestry Department), and conservation organizations like the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens and China Wildlife Conservation Association. With the aim of promoting Chengdu as “The Home Land of The Giant Panda,” the Chengdu Zoo has worked tirelessly since the 1950s. Now the Chengdu Panda Base has taken up the causes of research, breeding, and conservation among the giant panda population. The Base’s geographic location and excellent technological and professional resources allow it to carry out the ex-situ (off-site) conservation efforts and to improve the artificial reproduction procedures to increase the giant panda population. When population levels have reached desired levels, the Chengdu Panda Base will shift its efforts toward helping giant pandas adapt to their natural habitats so can be released into the wild and repopulate their native homeland.
Over the course of 20 years and with support from leaders at the state, provincial, and municipal levels, the Chengdu Panda Base has become one of the major research bases purposed with implementing the ex-situ (off-site) conservation engineering for tendangered wild animals. Most familiar is the international breeding and housing program for the giant panda by the Chinese government. The Chengdu Panda Base is a well-known institution for the preservation of endangered wildlife, integrating scientific research and breeding of giant pandas, conservation education, tourism education, and panda cultural events.
In terms of management, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding implements a three-level management mode. The director’s office, departments or centers, and teams or groups comprise the organizational structure of the Panda Base. The director’s office consists of seven leadership positions that include one director, five deputy directors and a deputy secretary, and one assistant director. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding has nine functional departments: General Secretary Department, Planning and Financial Department, Research Center, Animal Management Department, Animal Disease Prevention and Control Department, Popular Science Education Department, Tourism Marketing Department, Landscape and Capital Construction Department, and Political and Personnel Department. Each department or center holds the following responsibilities:
1. General Secretary Department
This department is responsible for daily operations at the Chengdu Panda Base. Work goals, communications, staff meetings and records maintenance fall under its purview. Departmental personnel handle public relations, human resources, safety, confidentially, and logistics at the base. The department vets all correspondence, oversees charitable donations and panda “adoptions,” supervises translation and guide services for visiting dignitaries, and manages all guest services operations.
2. Planning and Financial Department
The Planning and Financial Department is responsible for the preparation of the annual budget and manages all financial revenue and expenditures at the Chengdu Panda Base. The department oversees and implements the financial management systems and controller functions of the Chengdu Panda Base.
3. Research Center
Personnel in the Research Center investigate and report on all things relevant to giant pandas and the other endangered animals unique to China. The center is responsible for daily management of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and the Sichuan Key Laboratory for Conservation Biology on Endangered Wildlife. The National Key Laboratory Cultivation Base was constructed in tandem by Sichuan province and the Ministry of Science and Technology. Its mission is to manage scientific research carried out by the Chengdu Panda Base both domestically and abroad Specific tasks include supervision for postdoctoral research, organization of scientific conferences and meetings, construction of the official Panda Base website, internal network maintenance and computer repair and management of all audio-visual recordings for the base.
4. Animal Management Department
Animal Management is responsible for feeding the endangered and rare wild animals. The department also handles breeding and outreach management for the giant pandas and assists with completion of scientific research projects.
5. Animal Disease Prevention and Control Department
The focus of this department revolves around health examinations, prevention, treatment and monitoring of diseases that affect endangered and rare wild animals,. It is also responsible for the procurement, storage, and usage of veterinary drugs and medical supplies needed at the Panda Base. Members of the department assist in the breeding, raising, and management of the animals as well as aiding with wild panda rescues.
6. Science Promotion Department
The Science Promotion Department supervises and maintains the content for the scientific education displays, brochures, and website for the Chengdu Panda Base. Additional responsibilities include development, planning, and implementation of all policies and procedures related to scientific campaign projects.
7. Tourism Marketing Department
Responsible for research of the tourism market development related to the Chengdu Panda Base, proposing the plan of tourism market development and establishment of tourism marketing plan and organization of personnel to implement; responsible for contacting, communication and cooperation with the tourism management department, tourism organization (association) and travel agency; responsible for the data statistics, analysis, summary and report etc. of the tourism of the Chengdu Panda Base; responsible for dealing with the tourists’ complaints and the management of service outlets of the Chengdu Panda Base.
8. Landscape and Capital Construction Department
Responsible for all grounds management and capital construction projects of the Chengdu Panda Base, this department also oversees all logos and labels throughout the facilities.
9. Political and Personnel Department
This department is responsible for personnel and labor management as well as education and training. The political portion concentrates on party affairs and internal affairs. It directs ideology, politics, and the construction of spiritual civilization. It also assumes responsibility for workers conferences, labor unions, communist youth leagues, and the women’s commission and family planning. The personnel portion of the department is in charge of daily work performance assessments and directs annual job performance evaluations across all departments at the Chengdu Panda Base.