Vicky Collins Online

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For the love of Panda Bears


Sunday in Beijing and I feel the city is mine.  The sky is a beautiful blue (yes, it does happen) and the sun is out.  In two and a half weeks I have found a French bakery for cappuccinos, a restaurant I love called Hutong Pizza and I rode the subway.  I’m making my way through the city with confidence.  Today I decide to visit the zoo.  Apparently so does the rest of China.  This is not something to do if you get claustrophobic. 


The Beijing Zoo is primitive with many animals in glass enclosures and cages.  Visitors throw food and there are no moats so the animals often come right up to the fences.   There are some very interesting antelope and a great collection of bugs and butterflies.  There is also something I have never seen in a zoo before.  Dogs!!  In the children’s zoo there are different breeds of dogs.  They are big and little and the kids can walk them.


I have come to the zoo to see the pandas.  They are smaller than I expected and adorable. Ever since I met Suzanne Braden in Denver I have been more interested in them.  Suzanne runs a non-profit organization called Pandas International ( and she is a force.  For years she has been raising money for the panda breeding facility in Wolong that is working to insure the survival of the species.  There are only 1600 left in the world and their habitat in Wolong took a terrible hit from the earthquake.


The pandas are a hugely popular attraction and people photograph them with cameras and cell phones even behind the glass.   My NBC colleague, Mark Mullen, had a chance to visit Wolong a couple of times.  The most recent experience was after the earthquake and his stories of hope and heartbreak appeared on Today and Nightly News with Brian Williams (  He did a great stand up.  He reported by a cute little bear and then he patted his head.  Sublime!!   

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Author: Vicky Collins

Vicky Collins is a freelance television producer and journalist based in Denver, Colorado with a diverse portfolio of projects that including network news, cable programming, Olympic sports, corporate and non-profit videos. She is also an accomplished writer and photographer who is particularly interested in world travel and issues of global poverty. Some of her most satisfying assignments have been covering disasters, working in the slums of developing countries and telling stories of people who show great courage in the face of adversity. She has been in all 50 states and on six continents and many of her television stories and photos are posted on her website at To contact Vicky Collins directly email or tweet @vickycollins.

3 thoughts on “For the love of Panda Bears

  1. Sounds like you are having fun … and this is work? Don’t let it reach “panda”monium!
    Come visit florida…the manatees are thriving.

  2. Heartbreaking story by Mark Mullen. The pandas look so sweet!

    Vicky, are you uploading photos anywhere online?? Would love to see some of your photography! I’m really enjoying reading about stay in China. Keep it up!

    Safe travels! Kristi

  3. Catching up:
    If you’ve found cappuccino in Beijing, you are a woman after my own heart. Is it something other than Starbux, I hope?

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