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Coolest Up-Close Animal Encounters

Animal Encounters: Pandas at Minshan Mountains, China

Natural Habitat Adventures / Brad Josephs

Pandas

Where: Minshan Mountains, China

How: On foot

When: March–September

Rich in bamboo and largely devoid of human development, the rugged highlands of Sichuan province are the last stand of the giant panda. The World Wildlife Fund estimates the remote region harbors around 720 pandas, roughly 45 percent of earth’s wild population. The area is difficult to explore on your own, but Natural Habitat Adventures offers a two-week outdoor odyssey in the spring and summer that includes plenty of panda time, from Chengdu’s breeding center to two days trying to spy bears in the wild.

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