Preparing For China 2015

Here is a pic from our first year in China. Time flies when you get to hold panda cubs.

Every December, PDX Wildlife shifts into high gear in order to prepare for the upcoming Giant Panda internships, which take place in Ya’an, Sichuan, China. We recently selected two Panda interns for the upcoming winter breeding season and will be opening up to new applications for the following Spring/Summer Panda Internship, so check back in the following weeks for more infomation.

Traveling into China can be a daunting task the first time around, but with this being our 5th year of traveling to the far east, we have learned a few tricks to make the transition a breeze. Here are a few tips:

  1. Plan and prepare early. It pays to do your research on how to apply for the visa and what to say in order to receive the longest visa duration as possible. This last year was the first time that we were allowed a 1 year, multiple entry visa. This saved us quite a bit of money with multiple trips to/from the USA and China.
  2. The price of flights can often vary all over the place. Coincidentally, we usually travel during the Chinese New Year, which drives the cost up 20%. Try to travel outside of the holidays to save some dough.
  3. The time between your flights can make all the difference. If you give yourself 45 minutes to navigate the Beijing airport and customs agents, you could be in for a long night of bench sleeping. When you switch countries, try to give yourself at least 1.5 hours. We’ve personally seen it take as much as 3 hours.

We could spend hours on how to make the journey as simple and carefree as possible. But what really makes the difference is understanding that things WILL and DO go wrong. Relax, sip some Chinese tea, and you will make it to your destination. Feel free to send us an email if you have any questions about traveling in China.

Lead vs. Non-Lead Ballistic Gel Test

In order to understand the effect that a lead vs. a non-lead bullet will have upon a target, you have to fire each round into something that allows you to see the impact. Ballistics gel, which is available on, can be very costly. Alternatively, there are recipes all over the internet which allow anyone to make their very own for as little as $30.00. The recipe that I chose to go with was from Custom Cartridge (click link). I chose to make two molds, each about the size of a shoebox. After each mold had hardened, I picked up two boxes of ammo for my .30-06, one lead cored and the other lead free, and headed to the woods to see the difference each would have. Click on the video below to see the whole process and the exciting conclusion.

The ingredients that I used to make the Gel-

  • 6 quart plastic container
  • pam non-stick spray
  • 14 ounces of knox gelatin
  • 1.5 gallons of 105 degree water

To perform the test-fire I used-

  • 1 box of Remington Express Core-Lokt Lead 180 gr. .30-06
  • 1 box of Barnes Vor-TX Copper 180 gr. .30-06
  •  Weatherby Vanguard .30-06

The observable difference between the two rounds is very apparent. The lead round left several dozen fragments throughout the entire gel and literally tore it apart. The all copper round left a visible channel down the center of the gel, but did not leave any fragments. If you have any questions on how I prepared the gel or would like to more information on the effects of lead and wildlife, please send me an email at- nate@pdxwildlife

What It’s Like to Intern in Ya’an

Given that we are accepting applications for the Winter/Spring 2015 Panda internship, we thought it would be appropriate to share some of our past experiences from our time in Ya’an, China. Even though the majority of an interns time will be spent at the panda base collecting data, there is still ample time to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and tastes that the city has to offer.

Bridge connecting North and South Ya'an
Bridge connecting North and South Ya’an

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