Chongqing – Pandas!

They call these pandas, but they are unrelated to the pandas we associate with China. What they have in common with giant pandas is their fondness for bamboo. Read a bit more here.

Red panda (Ailurus fulgens)

Red panda (Ailurus fulgens)

It was a steamy, drizzly day when we visited the Chongqing Zoo.   There were hordes of people around as it was still the celebratory week following October 1, China’s anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.  Not that the people made it hard to get clear photos. My problem was that  I only ever carried one lens on my camera when I got off the bus (the Pentax body is heavy enough) and once again, I chose the wrong lens. Wrong for shooting the Giant Pandas  because I couldn’t zoom in on them. The photos have been cropped and brightened up considerably in Lightroom 5.

Fog doesn't dampen their appetite.

Fog doesn’t dampen their appetite.

Pandas are an endangered species. Whatever you may think of the ethics of wild animals in captivity, and the success (or lack thereof) of in-zoo breeding programs, it is a sad fact that the species has lost much of its habitat in China and Myanmar to deforestation and development and its numbers  are very low. The pandas in Chongqing seem well cared for, well fed and much appreciated.

Pandas seem to eat or sleep, though a younger one was up a tree.

Pandas seem to eat or sleep. A younger one was up a tree but I couldn’t get a good shot.

Between the rain and the very low light, I'm not very proud of the sharpness of any of these photos.

Between the rain and the very low light, I’m not very proud of the sharpness of any of these photos.

From another angle you can see the people around the other side of the pens.

From another angle you can see the people around the other side of the pens.

Next post: Other animals at the Chongqing zoo.

Chongqing, China

After a four-night, three-day cruise up the Yangtze river, we docked at Chongqing, boarded a bus and were taken to see the city’s tourist attractions. All five photos in this post were shot through a bus window at one time or another during the day.

Smog obscures the highways and buildings of the Chongqing riverside.

Smog obscures the highways and buildings of the Chongqing riverside.

Chongqing (pronounced Chong/ching) (formerly Romanized as Chungking) is one of four direct-controlled municipalities (the other three are Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This means Chongqing doesn’t report to a province or other level of government, but straight to the centre.

The municipality is said to be the largest in China in both area and population. It reaches a width of 470 kilometres (290 mi) from east to west, and a length of 450 km (280 mi) from north to south. The central city’s population is about 30 million with the greater area exceeding 35 million.

This Guardian article is eight years old, and a little long, but looks at the effect of rapid urbanization in China on a cross section of Chinese people living in Chongqing.

Colours muted by the smog

Colours muted by the smog.

Another example of the engineering prowess of the Chinese.

Another example of the engineering prowess of the Chinese.

During World War II and the Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945) Chongqing was the provisional capital of China and the headquarters of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (KMT) government. More than 50 embassies moved to Chongqing with him at that time.  The building below probably predates even that period.

An older part of Chongqing, which would have been interesting to explore.

An older part of Chongqing, which would have been interesting to explore. Sigh.

People work hard in China, and the picture below shows typical tree protection and planting work beside highways. In fact, trees that I would have considered as fully grown, still had their tripod supports.

The roadsides and medians throughout China were 98% immaculate.

The roadsides and medians throughout China were 98% immaculate.

Next post: Pandas!