Wolong Nature Reserve is one of the most popular wildlife parks in China, and thanks to its most popular residents, one of the most beloved anywhere. Located in the very heart of this vast nation, Wolong is home to many of China’s native species. But one animal easily tops them all: the Giant Panda. Although the total population is relatively small, it is still one of the highest concentrations of pandas in the world.
The relatively remote Sichuan province is located at the confluence of several major habitat regions, including mountains, plains and tropical rainforests. Because of this, and because of the area’s relatively less dense human population, wildlife has flourished in Sichuan from prehistoric times. As human encroachments finally began to impact the area in the mid-20th century, the government took steps to protect the area, especially its resident pandas. In 1963 Wolong was formally established as a reserve, and home to the national panda research center. It is now one of the most popular nature destinations for visitors in China.
Wolong is a large park, home to many species, including the Black Bear, Snow Leopard, numerous species of Deer and small Primates. However, it is the Giant Panda that draws visitors to the park from all over the world. Over 150 of the magnificent animals make their home here, carefully watched over by park officials. Even the death of one panda caused by an earthquake in 2008 was a sad occasion of mourning for those who care for the bears.
Wolong Nature Reserve sprawls over 2,000 square km along the foothills of the Tibetan Plateau, approximately 60 miles northwest of Chengdu. The park is open year round, though access is carefully guided by park officials in order to protect the wildlife. As of this writing no visitor information was available. Web: www.chinawolong.com (official website).