Have you ever thought of babysitting pandas and getting paid for it? That’s exactly my dream job! And that’s exactly what “Panda nannies” do every day.
In this article, you’ll learn the role, responsibilities, and benefits of being a panda nanny.
Let’s get this started …
Table of Contents
- What Are Panda Caretakers (aka Panda Nannies)?
- How Do They Take Care Of Pandas?
- Why Do Panda Caretakers Wear Masks?
- How Much Is Their Current Salary?
- How To Become A Panda Nanny?
- Why Become A Panda Caretaker?
- Final Thoughts
What Are Panda Caretakers (aka Panda Nannies)?
Pandas caretakers are trained and qualified personnel who are responsible for taking care of giant pandas.
Their job includes providing pandas with basic needs like:
- Preparing food
- Cleaning pandas and their enclosure
- Playing with them
- Ensuring that pandas are healthy by helping out during veterinary sessions
- Assisting in collecting behavioral data of pandas for research purposes
How Do They Take Care Of Pandas?
The Panda keeper’s job is to share in the animal’s good and sad moments. They make them feel loved and assure them that they are in safe hands.
Here’s what they do on a daily basis:
Panda nannies start their day by checking pandas in their habitat. This is to make sure they are strong, active, and in normal condition.
After that, they begin to weigh bamboo for the pandas’ breakfast; Each panda eats about 15 pounds every morning.
Giant pandas love food and spend up to 16 hours of their day eating and looking for more food.
Thus their keepers give them fruits, vegetables, fibrous leaves, and biscuits that are covered inside a puzzle feeder. This is to make their mealtime sweet and interesting.
When pandas are done eating breakfast, the nannies will clean their enclosures.
Now, they also spend some playtime with the pandas. They do this to test their abilities and to let them exercise.
Behaviors like opening their mouth and climbing trees are common things they use to test pandas. When playtime is over, baby pandas love to explore.
And so, It is the nanny’s job to guide them back to their shelter;
Panda caretakers must also measure and weigh newly born pandas to ensure their growth. Afterward, they will record all this information.
At the end of the day, pandas will get tired of all these activities. Their nannies get their enclosures ready. Afterward, they take the pandas inside to rest at night.
When they are done, they prepare food for the next day.
They usually serve the following:
- Bamboo stalks (duhh!)
- Specialized milk for baby pandas (made from boiled rice & synthesized vitamins)
- Boiled potatoes
- Fruitsicles (popsicles from diluted fruits or juice)
After all these, keepers go around the yard one more time to make sure pandas are safe.
Why Do Panda Caretakers Wear Masks?
There are 3 main reasons why pandas keepers wear masks. Let’s talk about them.
To Look Like Pandas and Create a Similar Panda Habitat
Panda nannies put on masks or full panda costumes to look like the pandas that they care for.
They also do it to create an environment that looks like the panda’s habitat.
This is because human attachment can lessen the panda’s chances of surviving when it is out of captivity.
Sometimes, panda’s caretakers rub the animal’s pee and poop on the mask/costume just to smell like them and not scare them away. Some other times, they disguise themselves as trees.
To Lessen The Pandas Stress
Pandas keepers wear masks to help pandas relate well and not get scared.
Now, picture this:
An 8-month-old baby panda is sent out into the wild with its mother.
They stayed there for 5 years and all the panda cub knows is the mother. Surprisingly, while hunting for food it saw a skinny and tall animal without fur. ‘’Human Face’’
It’s going to be a scary incident for the baby panda!
The case above was a panda called Tao Tao when he was released into the wild with his mother Cao Cao for training.
You see, this is one of the reasons pandas keepers wear masks to save pandas from the shock of seeing a human face.
To Obtain and Record Information
Pandas are shy and would always react differently when they see humans.
As a result, panda nannies wear masks to get the natural behavioral data of pandas. If they were to dress normally (as humans), the pandas’ behavior may get altered.
Hence, researchers may come up with an incorrect behavioral pattern.
How Much Is Their Current Salary?
Panda caretakers are currently paid an annual salary of about $32,500 (200,000 yuan)
China Daily reported that aside from the panda keeper’s annual payment, they get daily free meals, good accommodation, and a company car to go with it.
How To Become A Panda Nanny?
Being a panda nanny is one of the most well-paid jobs in the world. Interested people get to work at the Giant Panda Protection & Research Center in China.
Information from China Daily has it that anyone that wants to apply for the panda’s keeper job must fulfill the following requirements;
- Must be at least 22 years old and loves pandas.
- Must be a white-collar worker from a big city
- Have good health, and a little knowledge about pandas
- Must possess good writing and photography skills
- The candidate would have to support wildlife and be a part of the giant panda’s conservation program.
- You get to work in the zoo as a volunteer or trainee
- While in training, you take a course on zoo and aquarium management, after which you become a qualified and fully employed pandas nanny.
Why Become A Panda Caretaker?
Most people that want to become pandas keepers do it because of several benefits. Let’s see some of them below.
The attractive salary
Pandas keepers are paid an average salary of about 200,000 yuan ($32,500) per year.
Pandas keepers also get to live in the park where they are given a moderate place to stay.
This way they are close to the animals they care for, and it saves them the stress of coming and going home each day.
Panda nannies have the opportunity to eat for free (although the choices of food are limited) while staying with the pandas.
The China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center make sure they have all they need and are comfortable.
A Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)
They are also given an SUV for the daily run around.
In conclusion, panda caretakers are the reason why pandas thrive in captivity.
Their work is to ensure that pandas are happy and healthy as well as give daily reports about them.
The job is a competitive field with a good salary of about $32,500 and other interesting compensation, hence the reason people want to become pandas keepers.
Now that you’ve learned what a panda caretaker does, would you like to know why pandas stay in the zoo?
Check out our article ‘’5 Reasons Why Pandas are Kept in Zoos’’ to learn more.