This was a tough video to put together because of the condition of the Wolong base after the earthquake was depressing. The scientist are focusing on their pandas and best methods for ensuring success of the cubs once they are released into the wild, so the condition of the base is not relevant at this time.
Alot of planning went into this program before they moved back to the Wolong base. Certain areas of the base were damaged or destroyed but the main admin building and breeding pens/yards are still in good shape. Fortunately, a large section of the mountain was not impacted by the earthquake that caused landslides to destroy the entranceway to the base and the kindergarten area which is further down from the breeding pens. This is the section that they are able to utilize for the wild release training for the cubs. The former kindergarten area was inaccessible.
So, I tried to set the scene, kind of give you an idea of what the area is like, mountains, rivers, in other words rugged. Then give a little history of the earthquake and then moving onto their first graduate of the wild release program, Tao Tao and his mom Cao Cao.
Our Earthwatch schedule was moved all around because Tao was scheduled to be released around the time we arrived and of course this was not open to the public. But we have some great photos thanks to the staff at the base who have been keeping up with the mom and cub pair during the course of the cubs 2 1/2 years of training.
In the meantime, a new base, larger with facilities for breeding, wild release training and buildings that will house a panda museum and educational displays about giant pandas is currently under construction. They are working at the base with a few pandas but there is still alot of construction going on and the roadways are still being prepared also.
I hope this gives you a sense of how the Chinese are working hard to help save the giant pandas in the Wolong area. Thanks to everyone who are involved in this effort.