The Chengdu Panda Base, a breeding facility in China for giant pandas and other rare animals, has just announced a unique opportunity for panda lovers. In partnership with WildAid, Chengdu is seeking three "Pambassadors" for dream jobs working with giant pandas in the wild.
Each of the three Chengdu Pambassadors will hold their position for a year, during which time they'll also get to participate in a Global Panda Conservation Tour. Basketball star Yao Ming has already given a thumbs up to the campaign.
"The giant panda is a unique creature, loved by people around the world and especially the Chinese," Ming was quoted as saying in a press release. "These pandas are native to Sichuan, and it is our duty to care for them and to help them thrive back in their home, in the wild."
"Pandas are one of the most endangered species in the world," he added, "and it is critical that we preserve and protect this special animal, which is why I am working with the Chengdu Panda Base to make the Pambassador program as successful as possible."
"Phase one of the competition starts on the Chengdu Pambassador Facebook page where panda lovers can sign up and get started raising awareness about their part in the competition," Alejandro Grau, who is also helping to spread the word about the campaign, told Discovery News. "The Semi-Final competition will take place in Washington, D.C., where 24 individuals will compete for the chance to travel to Chengdu for the final round."
I checked out the Facebook page, and it is a fun resource for giant panda fans, offering everything from a giant panda cartoon to video footage of a panda birth.
Speaking of births, here in the states. it's been a big few months for giant panda news on both coasts. Mei Xiang at the Smithsonian's National Zoo gave birth to a baby this week. There's also good news from California, where a bouncing 52-day-old baby boy panda is enjoying life at the San Diego Zoo. He's right on track with growth progress, now weighing four pounds and measuring a bit more than 16 inches long. He's also nursing well from his mother, Bai Yun.