June 24, 2008
Wildlife Group on Mission to Help Pandas in China
FORT LAUDERDALE -- A local wildlife charity needs volunteers to help the pandas affected by the recent earthquake in China.
Dedicated to protecting wildlife through science and education, the Wild Spots Foundation has sent numerous missions to China and other countries in the past. China's Wolong Panda Preserve, once home to almost 100 pandas, was 18 miles from the May 12 earthquake's epicenter and has been nearly impossible to access, said foundation president Barry Barker. He is organizing a mission to help the pandas.
"The pandas are pretty desperate because no one is bringing food to them. Everyone is concerned about the damage and reconstruction, and the pandas are being left on their own," said Barker, who also is chairman of Nova Southeastern University's Environmental Sciences Department.
From Sept. 20-30, volunteers will feed the pandas, clean their cages and help at the nursery and the reproductive center.
Volunteers also will photograph and document the site to raise awareness and support, said Chris Hunt, an environmental sciences and marine biology student at Nova Southeastern University who has been to the region before and will join Barker.
The trip is limited to 16 people, but Barker hopes to repeat it. Volunteers will be responsible for a $3,000 fee to cover travel expenses. Anyone can participate. For information, call Barker at 954-816-1974 .