Panda Hugger – the best job in the world?
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
We’ve all heard the above phrase, but what’s the best job you can think of?
Does it pay £21,000 and require you to do nothing more than play with a bunch of baby pandas? No? Then this one’s better!
The China Giant Panda Protection and Research Centre, in Ya’an, Sichuan province, advertised for a panda caretaker who would earn 200,000yuan (£21k/US$30k), have the use of an SUV and receive free meals and accommodations on top of their salary.
“Your work has only one mission,” those in charge of the recruitment drive said. “Spending 365 days with the pandas and sharing in their joys and sorrows.”
Applicants must be at least 22 years old, according to China Daily, have some basic knowledge of pandas, and possess good writing and photography skills.
“Many people at our centre do the same job, but the salary was never that high”, said Heng Yi, a publicity official at the panda centre. “But we want more people to pay attention to giant pandas’ protection work and participate.”
Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are classified as endangered, with a decreasing population, meaning that they are considered to be at high risk of extinction in the wild. Increased knowledge of their plight can only be beneficial.
80% of the centre’s staff are volunteers, hailing mostly from Japan, Europe and the US, Heng said.
Ye Mingxin, a market manager for Ford Motor Co in China, who are co-organising the recruitment campaign, said he thinks the job is not easy:
“You need perseverance for this job. We expect that the applicants will be mainly white collar workers from big cities. They are used to eating whatever they want, but inside the giant panda base, the choices will not be plentiful,” Ye said.
This recruitment drive took place in 2014, but who knows – they could be recruiting again soon!
Check out this adorable video of one of the 'huggers' with her band of pandas!