Dujiangyan Irrigation Project
The Dujiangyan Irrigation System is an incredible ancient feat of engineering on par in its ingenuity and sophistication with the Great Wall and Grand Canal. Dating back some 2,000 years, the system addressed two of the biggest problems besetting China’s rulers: controlling flood-prone waterways and delivering much-needed water to parched land. Dujiangyan is roughly 60 km from Chengdu and is the site where a third-century BC official and engineer named Li Bing devised a scheme (still in use and much expanded today) to both control the dangerous Min River and use its waters to irrigate the surrounding farmland. For this, Li Bing remains a national hero of near mythic status, as attested to by the temple honoring the man and his achievements found at Dujiangyan. Walk across the An Lan Suspension Bridge, one of the old style bridges that spans the Min River. Built in 1,000 AD it remains a thrilling experience to cross.
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
The giant panda is a rare and beloved animal that only inhabits the six major mountain ranges in Sichuan, Shanxi and Gansu provinces of China. With a population of less than 2000, the species is included on the endangered list by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and is protected by China’s Wildlife Protective Law as the special-class protected animal. Giant pandas are appreciated and cherished by humans the world over; their familiar black and white faces and rounded ears endearing them to children and adults alike. Because of its prominent scientific research value, endangered status, and delightful viewing value, the giant panda is considered a national treasure of China. Though small in number, giant pandas have visited many countries and served as envoys of friendship from China to the world.
Over the course of 20 years and with support from leaders at the state, provincial, and municipal levels, the Chengdu Panda Base has become one of the major research bases purposed with implementing the ex-situ (off-site) conservation engineering for endangered wild animals. Most familiar is the international breeding and housing program for the giant panda by the Chinese government. The Chengdu Panda Base is a well-known institution for the preservation of endangered wildlife, integrating scientific research and breeding of giant pandas, conservation education, tourism education, and panda cultural events.