WWF seeks avid bloggers to watch wild panda

Updated: 2011-10-11 07:36

(China Daily)

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CHENGDU - International conservation group WWF is recruiting four panda watchers for a five-day research and patrol program in the wilderness of Southwest China's Sichuan province.

The ideal candidates should be avid bloggers who are eager to share text, photos and video of their experiences with other Internet users, WWF said on its micro blog at weibo.com.

Other qualifications include advanced photography skills, a love of animals, a desire to help protect critically-endangered wild pandas and good health - as the panda watchers will need to hike eight hours a day in the wild mountains, it said.

Applications are open online from Oct 8 to 14.

The program, scheduled to run from Oct 23 to 27, will be held at the Heizhugou Nature Reserve in Ebian county in the suburbs of Leshan.

The panda watchers will take two routes into the reserve, where they will use GPS and ultrared cameras to identify and record traces of wild pandas, and share their findings with WWF's panda researchers and local villagers.

WWF said the event is aimed at promoting public awareness of both the giant panda's role in the ecosystem and how ordinary people can get involved in wild panda protection.

Since 1999, WWF has worked with China's forestry authorities and research bodies to launch 1,140 routes across major panda habitats in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces for scientific surveillance and patrolling as well as to fight against illegal poaching.

Statistics from the State Forestry Administration show that about 1,600 pandas live in the wild and about 300 are held in captivity at zoos worldwide.

Panda researchers said about half of the giant panda habitats and one-third of the pandas are not effectively protected, as a result of natural disasters, climate change and human activities.