Pandas are eating bamboo shoots at the Panda Base in Chengdu, China. The twelve lucky finalists in a worldwide contest to be a panda keeper in Chengdu for one month have begun their training, learning to feed and study the endangered animals on Wednesday September 22, 2010.
Coming from Sweden, South Africa, Japan and other countries, the finalists arrived at the Chengdu Panda Base in southwestern China’s Szechwan province. The new panda keepers in training were chosen from a pool of more than 60,000 hopefuls.
Ultimately there will only be six winners of the competition, organized by the base and conservation group WWF, will be chosen on September 29 based on how well they look after the pandas, understand conservation, and how good their communication skills are.
They will then spend a month working as panda keepers and living with the locals in Chengdu, blogging about their experiences to help raise awareness of the endangered animal’s plight.
The six winners will also be hosted by local families.
They will be trained on how to feed the pandas, interact with cubs, and monitor their growth, cleaning and sterilizing the panda enclosures, weighing their excrement and feeding the bears.
There are just 1,600 pandas left in the wild and nearly 300 others are in captive-bred programs worldwide, mainly in China, according to official reports.
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