Lokale naam: Wòlóng Zìránbǎohùqū

Wolong National Nature Reserve was founded in 1963, the first place to shelter and protect the giant panda. The park was expanded in 1975 to make room for more pandas, and it now covers around 200.000 hectares.

You can see pandas here that have fallen ill, or have encountered other kinds of trouble. They also breed pandas here, with the intention of releasing them into the wild.

Het achterland van Wolong.
The hinterland of Wolong. Blake Lennon

Not many people know that besides giant pandas there are also the smaller red pandas, snow leopards and North-Chinese leopards. These are found in the wildest part of Wolong.

The area was struck by a huge earthquake in 2008, which devastated the area. Collapsing buildings killed five keepers and one giant panda during the quake. Many of the structures have been rebuilt in a new location, and you can once again visit the enclosures, research centre and the rugged hinterland.

More information: www.cnto.org/unesco-sites/sichuan-giant-panda-sanctuaries/