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Wild Panda Tracking Tour

Wild Panda Tracking Tour

Duration:14 days
Destination:Xi'an-Terra-Cotta Warriors-Foping Natural Reserve-Xi'an
Birds possible
Best season:November
introduction to Giant Panda tracking tour in China
The Giant Panda is a true icon for endangered wildlife. Yet today the future of the Giant Panda is particularly fragile. This peaceful, bamboo-eating member of the bear family faces a number of threats. Its forest habitat, in the mountainous areas of southwest China, is fragmented and Giant Panda populations are small and isolated from each other.
 
Meanwhile, poaching remains an ever-present threat. The Chinese Government has created over 50 panda reserves protecting more than 10,400km² and yet despite these efforts there are estimated to be less than 1,600 Giant Pandas left on earth.
 
Please join us for an expedition into the heart of the natural habitat of this enigmatic species.
 
Please note: We hope to encounter wild Giant Pandas on this trip, however sightings of wild Pandas cannot be guaranteed. We will not visit any of the captive "sanctuaries" - this is a trip designed to see Pandas in-the-wild.
 
best time to go
November is the best time to go ĘC when first snow has fallen Pandas come down from the higher elevations in search of food. The Pandas are easier to track in fresh snow.
 
day-by-day itinerary
 
Day 1: Arrive Xi An, China. Everyone should plan to arrive on, or before, the morning of Monday 16th November. You will be met at the Xi An airport and transferred to our hotel where we have lunch and freshen-up. In the afternoon we will visit the famed Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, with visits to Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3, and the Chariot Museum. We will drive back to Xi An in the later afternoon and enjoy a welcome dinner at our Hotel this evening. Overnight at Grand New World Hotel (L,D). 
 
Day 2: Xi An city tour. Today we have full day to explore the City with a guided tour to the Shaanxi History Museum, the Wild Goose Pagoda, visit and the Old City Wall. We plan to build in some free time to explore on your own. Of course we can also change the sequence of visits, if people are too tired on the first day, and visit the Terra Cotta Warriors today. Dinner this evening is a dumpling Banquet! Overnight at Grand New World Hotel (B,L,D). 
 
Day 3: Xi An to Foping Reserve Station. After breakfast we will drive to Foping National Nature Reserve, this reserve located on the south side of the Qinling Mountains has the highest density of wild Giant Pandas ever recorded. We plan to spend the next week here, tracking wild Pandas each day, with the hope of encountering Giant Pandas in-the-wild. We have specifically chosen the month of November to visit as in the late Autumn and early Winter the Pandas come down to lower elevations, and the likely presence of light snowfall should make the Pandas easier to track. Once we reach the end of the road we must walk into the Station and porters will carry our luggage. The path into the station is an easy walk, but everyone should be in good physical condition as some days the tracking may be quite difficult. Indeed, if you wish to join this trip you should be able to walk up and down sometimes slippery terrain, the trails can be quite steep and scrambling up or down snow-covered slopes may be necessary. Overnight at Foping Reserve Station (B,L,D) 
 
Day 4-10: Foping Nature Reserve / Panda tracking. Each day we plan to go out in the Reserve with our team of trackers and guides in search of wild Giant Pandas and of course some of the other wildlife found in the area, such as Golden Takin, Asiatic Brown Bear, the elusive Golden snub-nosed monkeys and a wealth of birdlife, including Crested Ibis, pheasants and tragopans. Indeed the Foping National Nature Reserve has recorded some 68 mammal species, 217 species of birds, 38 species of reptiles, 15 species of fishes and over 1,250 species of insects. We will use porters each day to transport some of our gear and take boxed lunches to allow us maximum time out in the reserve. Overnights at Foping Reserve Station (B,L,D) 
 
Day 11: Foping Nature Reserve to Xi An. After breakfast today we say farewell to the station that has been our home for a week and walk back out of the reserve to our waiting vehicle. Then we will drive the several hours back to Xi An and civilization! Tonight we have our farewell dinner back at the Grand New World Hotel where we first began our adventure. Overnight at Grand New World Hotel (B,L,D) 
 
how this holiday makes a difference
This trip contributes funds towards the continued protection and conservation of wild Giant Pandas. It is an Ecotour that will make a difference to you, and to the areas we visit.
 
We make a contribution of $250 per person to the Foping Nature Reserve on behalf of each tour participant, funds that help support the ongoing protection and conservation of wild Giant Pandas.
 
We employ local people throughout operation of the tour. By employing local people (guides, porters, cooks, drivers, etc) this trip contributes to the local community of the people living adjacent to the National park, it helps improve their well-being. We use locally owned and operated lodges and outfitters. This ensures all revenues help support the local community and help reinforce the concept that responsible and sustainable ecotourism can improve the local community and is a viable economic pursuit. We use only local goods and services.
 
Our group size is restricted to a maximum of 16 participants which helps minimize any potential negative impacts of people visiting a fragile natural area. This small group size also helps reduce any negative potential cultural impacts.
 
In our home office we constantly strive to improve our conservation practices, and reduce paper and printing by doing all of our communication electronically wherever possible. All our practices and efforts help demonstrate that ecotourism is a viable economic alternative to exploiting natural resources in a non-renewable or non-sustainable manner.