Press Releases

24 U.S. Semi-Finalists Selected for Global Panda Conservation Program

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chengdu Panda Base, in partnership with WildAid and the Yao Foundation, have announced the selection of 24 North American semi-finalists as part of the Global Pambassador program. The semi-finalists will compete in a series of panda related challenges over the course of two days in Washington, D.C. The 2012 Global Pambassador campaign is a 3-month competition to develop global knowledge and awareness about giant panda conservation. Four finalists will be selected to attend the final competition at the Chengdu Panda Base.           

The 2012 Chengdu Pambassador program builds on the success of the 2010 Pambassador program, in which 6 finalists were chosen from more than 60,000 global conservation activists who applied online for the opportunity to become a panda care-taker at the Panda Base in Chengdu for one month. This year, the winners will serve as a "Chengdu Pambassador" for one year and will have the opportunity to participate in a "Global Panda Conservation Tour" in 2013. Pambassador finalists will take a unique journey into the natural habitat of wild pandas and participate in current panda release programs, designed to re-introduce captive bears into the wild.

After competing in a 3-week "PandaQuest" competition on Facebook, 24 semifinalists were chosen to compete in a series of activities and challenges in Washington, D.C. on October 16 and 17. The semi-finalists will come together to share their enthusiasm for panda conservation and compete for one of the four finalist spots to travel to the Chengdu Panda Base and go "Into the Wild" with Chengdu pandas. After the finals, 3 global Pambassadors will be selected.

The 24 semi-finalists come from all across North America and include:

  • Ashley Jaeger: Tucson, AZ
  • Alison Robert: Cedarburg, WI
  • Amanda Epstein: Los Angeles, CA
  • Irene Kaufman: Woodland Hills, CA
  • Craig Handy: Peachtree, GA
  • Christine Murphy: Davenport, IA
  • Annie-Danielle Grenier: Coteau-du-Lac, Canada
  • Joanne Connolly: Framingham, MA
  • Tiffany Tran: Huntington Beach, CA
  • Jeanette Cordero: New York, NY
  • Naomi Perry: Groveland, FL
  • Lacey Rodgers: Sacramento, CA
  • Rebecca Revich: Los Angeles, CA
  • Stephanie Yen: Los Angeles, CA
  • Mary Kate Flannery: San Diego, CA
  • Diane Cranford: Los Angeles, CA
  • Ivana Schork, Brazil
  • Jenney Szeto: Boston, MA
  • Lisa Fredsti: Los Angeles, CA
  • Kevin O'Brien: New York, NY
  • Melissa Katz: Tinton Falls, NJ
  • Brenda Chang: Newark, NJ
  • Felissa Elfenbein: Atlanta, GA
  •  Jayme Koch: Savannah, GA

"As a Pambassador semi-finalist, I am one step closer to fulfilling a childhood dream of working with giant pandas and promoting their conservation," said Ashley Jaeger, a semi-finalist from Tucson, AZ. "I am so excited to see where this once in a lifetime opportunity will take me!"

About the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
The Chengdu Panda Base is a non-profit organization engaged in wildlife research, captive breeding and conservation education. The Chengdu Panda Base was founded in 1987 when six weak giant pandas were rescued from the wild and rehabilitated to full strength. Today, the Chengdu Panda Base is home to 108 healthy bears – the world's largest captive population of pandas.

About Chengdu Pambassador 2012
Sponsored by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, or Chengdu Panda Base, and cosponsored by WildAid and the Yao Ming Foundation, Chengdu Pambassador is a global program offering panda lovers around the world the chance to become a "panda ambassador" (or Pambassador) for a year. Winners stand a chance to win USD20,000 and go on a "Global Panda Protection Tour" in 2013, a globetrotting experience to visit pandas hosted in 11 countries and initiate local activities to raise awareness for endangered animal protection.

For more information, please visit

Alejandro Grau
Ogilvy Public Relations

SOURCE Chengdu Panda Base