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Seeking panda lovers as 'Pambassadors'

By Wing Tan   (Shanghai Daily)

09:21, September 18, 2012

If you always want to take care of baby pandas, have breakfast with pandas and smell panda feces to tell whether the animal is healthy, then this competition is for you.

Anyone around the world can enter and demonstrate their enthusiasm for the endangered giant panda and their ideas for preservation and public education. Online applications close on September 30.

Three panda lovers will be chosen as Pambassadors and get to take care of the pandas for one year at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Then they will act as Pambassadors in 2013 on the Global Panda Conservation Tour.

The 2012 Global Pambassador program, organized by the Chengdu base, WildAid and the Yao Ming Foundation, aims to raise awareness about the endangered species.

In the online competition, 24 regional winners will be chosen in each region, Europe, North America, the Asia Pacific and Chinese mainland. From October 12-17, semifinals will be held in each region. From October 28-November 16, the finals will be held in Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan Province.

Then three winners will live and work with the pandas in Chengdu Panda Valley and take part in wilderness research and training.

They will clean panda enclosures, bathe the animals, make food for them, care for cubs, collect bamboo for their food, have breakfast with the pandas and learn to smell their feces to determine whether the animal is healthy.

In 2010, when the competition was first held, more than 61,000 people applied and six Pambassadors were chosen.

To register and participate, overseas panda lovers can log onto Facebook, while Chinese can log onto Tencent weibo and Tencent QQ.

"The program aims to promote awareness of the endangered species and get more people involved in conservation," says Dr Zhang Zhihe, director of the Chengdu Panda Base.

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