Calling all Panda lovers around the world! For anyone who has ever dreamed of babysitting Giant Pandas for a living, a job for a Panda nanny in China is now accepting applications.
The Panda nanny job, is available in Ya’an, China in the Sichuan Province at the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center. It pays approximately $32,000 per year, which is the equivalent of about 200,000 Chinese yuan. The position also offers the employee use of an SUV along with meals and board. The Panda research center is now accepting applications from those who are 22 years of age or older, and requirements for the position include having photography and writing skills in addition to having some basic knowledge of the animal. Recruitment for the job began this past Saturday, May 24.
The Giant Panda is a prominent creature in China, with the animal appearing as the country’s national emblem almost, if not as much as the Dragon, China’s official national mascot. An endangered species, there are fewer than 2,500 of them existing in the wild today, and that number is still decreasing, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This decrease is highly due to habitat loss, and also in part due to a restricted supply of bamboo, a main food source for the animal. Also, because bamboo does not provide that much nutrition, the animal has to spend about half of their day eating it, which necessitates large supplies of the plant.
A Giant Panda, on average, consumes anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo each day, with the diet of the animal consisting of over 99 percent of the plant. However, despite this bamboo centered diet, the animal is technically labeled as a carnivore, and will eat eggs, fish, and meat whenever they become available. The Giant Panda is a uniquely adapted creature that has lived in the bamboo forests for millions of years. Although Pandas are known as gentle creatures, they have been known to attack humans, most commonly for reasons of irritation rather than out of aggression. However, they generally keep to themselves, spending most of their days eating.
One of the goals of the Panda nanny program, according to China Daily, is to increase the interest in and awareness of pandas. Volunteers at the Panda center account for about 80 percent of the staff and are mostly volunteers from Europe, Japan, and the U.S. Campaign organizers warn that although this Panda caretaker position may seem ideal, it will be harder than it looks. They suggest that many of the applicants will be white collar workers from big cities, who are used to eating whatever they want. However, organizers say that, inside the Giant Panda center, choices of food will not be plentiful.
Competition is heavy when it comes to applying for this position, and applicants may also have to go though an audition process to get the job. However, organizers want to raise awareness of the Giant Panda, and they are quick to assure people that the job will be rewarding. So far, it is reported that over 100,000 people have successfully applied for the panda nanny job in China, which is now accepting applications, and will continue to up until July 15, 2014.
By Laura Clark