Panda Lovers Around the World Vie for "Pambassador" Positions
Panda enthusiasts from all over the world are now competing for the very special job of "Pambassadors", who will spend one month living with and taking care of 80 pandas in southwestern China's Chengdu.
By launching the campaign, the organizer Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding hopes to draw the public's attention to the serious threats regarding the survival of the lovable black-and-white bears.
Xu Weiyi has more. The Giant Panda, which is native to the mountains around the city of Chengdu, has for many years lived on the brink of extinction. With a total population of less than 2,000, it is one of the world's most endangered species.
The Chengdu Panda Base hopes the 6 lucky winners who will shoulder the duty of Pambassadors for one year, can become international advocates for panda conservation.
Qu Jing with the Base says during their four weeks in Chengdu, the Pambassadors will have an unprecedented opportunity to get close with the pandas.
"For the first 2 weeks, the Pambassadors will be fully immersed with the daily work of the Base, acquiring basic knowledge and understanding about the protection and care of pandas, assisting and participating in multiple scientific research projects and experiencing the key roles of feeder, researcher and trainer. And in the third week, they will witness the return of pandas to their natural habitat. During the last week they will have the chance to explore the primitive jungle, and visit the wild pandas."
The Pambassadors will blog about their experiences, and upload videos and photos of their interaction with pandas to various social networking sites.
The organizer says after they finish the on-base tenure, the Pambassadors should continue to actively promote the "Protection of Pandas" in their home countries.
Two weeks after the contest was launched, the organizer received more than 18,000 applications from over 35 countries and regions, including the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, the United States, Japan, France and Australia.
"I am Jeroen Jacobs from Belgium. I love watching pandas. I really want to work with them. I hope to see you in Chengdu."
"My name is Tess Burns. I live in Indiana. I think I'm going to be the most amazing Pambassador, because I look at all animals as in pandas as creatures that need to be saved. In not saving them, we're being incredibly selfish."
"I'm a high school English teacher. An opportunity such as working with the pandas would allow me to further illustrate to my students that we must move against and beyond boundaries for the common good."
Organizers said they consider only those applicants between the ages of 18 and 40 years old; but due to the increasing out-of-age-range applications, they are now considering relaxing the age limit.
By logging onto pandahome.com, panda fans can apply for the job by either playing an online panda care game or uploading a video about themselves.
The first round of selections will end on Sunday, with 60 candidates entering the second round.
Finally on September 29th, 6 Pambassadors will be chosen from 12 candidates by a panel of international experts and start their mission on October 1st.
If you love panda bears, don't let this once-in-a-life-time opportunity to get close with the lovable creatures get away.
For CRI, I'm Xu Weiyi.