Giant Panda

The ultimate overload of cuteness

The giant panda is a unique animal. This bamboo lover has the highest cuddly factor of all animals. In the wild it is quite difficult to spot these animals, although it is possible.

Its black and white fur, its waddling gait and the way the animal eats bamboo (leisurely) gives it a high cuddly factor. Yes, the giant panda looks like a big teddy bear. These animals live in the dense forests of China, where you can look for them in the wild. Although it is not that simple.

In which countries are pandas found?

Today, giant pandas are only found in six mountainous regions of China: Qinling, Minshan (Gansu and Sichuan) and Qionglai, Xiangling and Liangshan (Sichuan). Minshan, in particular, is a good place to look for giant pandas in the wild. Trekking tours are also offered, but the number of tours are limited.

It is remarkable that pandas used to live in countries such as Vietnam and Myanmar. Fossils of giant pandas have been found on site. These are about three million years old. It is not known why the animals became extinct. Although a lot of research is still being done to find out.

A meeting with a wild panda in China. ©Corno van den Berg

Wild pandas trekking tours in China

You can do a trekking with a guide and a local panda tracker. You'll  wander through the mountain forests of China in search of the giant panda. Where you often cross mighty bamboo forests, but the chance that you will see them is small, very small.

The trails can be steep and difficult to access, the weather is often bad and cold. But when you see these bears in the wild you will probably quickly forget. Making it one of the best experiences of your life. At least, that's how it is with me.

The animals can grow to 1.50 meters long and weigh 150 kilos. These animals have the largest molars of all mammals. They use these to grind bamboo leaves. They do this for about 16 hours a day, with only a small part of the food being digested. It is relatively unknown that they also eat flowers, grass, honey and even small mammals.

Luckily you have better chances in famous breeding centers like Wolong and Chengdu. You can visit these centres and watch the pandas up close. 

Best time to see giant pandas

In the wild, these animals are not that kind. They are not really social towards their peers. Except for mating, which lasts from March to May. This is the best time to search for them, because they scream a lot.

Other animals you may encounter

A golden snub-nosed monkey in China.

The panda shares its habitats with other animals. Such as the now famous golden snub-nosed monkey, the takin, Chinese giant salamander, Asiatic black bear, clouded leopard, golden pheasant and blood pheasant.

Best places to see a giant panda