Chengdu Pambassador Finals Launch with Naming of "Olympic Panda"

16 finalists compete for panda lovers' dream job in the hometown of giant pandas

Oct 30, 2012, 09:37 ET from Chengdu Panda Base

CHENGDU, China, Oct. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday, the first baby panda born at the Chengdu Panda Base in 2012 was officially named by popular vote. Over 890,000 internet users voted for names nominated by other netizens. After stepping outside the nursery for the first time, the name of the 3-month old baby panda, born on the opening day of the London Olympics, was officially announced by Zhang Zhihe, Director of the Chengdu Panda Base. The winning name, "Oreo" was proposed by Rebecca Revich, a 29 year-old lawyer and Pambassador finalist from Los Angeles, CA.

(Photo: )
(Photo: )

When asked why she suggested the name Oreo, Rebecca replied, "Look at him, he's black and white sandwiched together, he looks like an Oreo. Also, Oreo means beautiful in Greek and I feel that pandas are the most beautiful animal in the world."

Yesterday, sixteen wanna-be 'panda ambassadors' from around the world arrived in Chengdu for the final phase of the Global Search for Chengdu Pambassador 2012. Rebecca is joined by 15 other dedicated individuals, selected from over 255,000 Facebook users who participated in the online phase of the program. After demonstrating their panda conservation passion and knowledge at regional semi-final competitions in the US, UK, Singapore, and China, 4 finalists from each region now have the chance to compete for one of 3 winning positions as a Chengdu Pambassador.

Over the course of the next two and a half weeks, the Pambasador Finalists will have the exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do more than just name baby pandas. They will work closely with pandas at the world-renowned Chengdu Panda Base and learn about the various roles of a professional panda caretaker. They will participate in the Panda Base's reintroduction program, helping to train pandas for release into the wild, and trekking into the natural habitat themselves to learn about wild pandas and their shrinking habitat. Most importantly, the Pambassador finalists will be evaluated on their ability to spread the panda conservation message and raise awareness.

"It is my lifelong dream to be able to take care of pandas," said Li Lin Chang, a Pambassador finalist from Singapore, "being a Pambassador will empower me to share and contribute to panda conservation in a meaningful way."

The 3 winners will be announced on November 16. Over the course of their one-year pambassadorship they will promote the Panda Reintroduction Fund and take part in the Global Panda Conservation Tour – a trip around the world to visit pandas living in different countries and promote conservation to local communities.

The Pambassador program is organized by the Chengdu Panda Base, WildAid, and the Yao Foundation. It aims to raise awareness and support for the endangered giant panda.


SOURCE Chengdu Panda Base