CHENGDU, China, Nov. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The 3 winners of the 2012 Global Search for Chengdu Pambassador were officially awarded this afternoon at the Panda Base in Chengdu, the hometown of giant pandas. The three winners include Jerome Pouille from France, Chen, Yinrong from China, and Melissa Katz from the United States. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121118/CN15660) Upon announcing the result of the competition, Dr. Zhang Zhihe, Director of the Panda Base, noted the important cause and great contribution that all 16 of the Pambassador finalists have made over the 10 week competition, "All of you are outstanding individuals and your efforts to promote the conservation of pandas are inspiring, you will always be a part of the Chengdu Panda Base family. The promotion of international communication about conservation is essential to the survival of this and other species." The Chengdu Pambassador program was first launched in 2010 when over 60,000 individuals competed for the chance to become a panda caretaker for one month. This year's Pambassador competition was conducted on a larger scale with over 255,000 participants. Throughout the competition, which included Facebook submission and voting; semi-final events in China, Singapore, the U.K., and the U.S.; and a final 3 week phase in Chengdu, the participants demonstrated great knowledge of and passion for pandas. Furthermore, they have promoted global conservation awareness and contributed to the long term goal of reintroducing pandas to their wild habitat. Jerome Pouille, the 31 year old sustainable development technician from France came in first place overall, "I was confident, but never expected to come in first place" he said, "I'm very excited and thankful to all my team members and look forward to continuing the important work of promoting global conservation." The three winners will serve in their pambassadorship for one year. They will engage in in-depth training and conservation efforts at the Chengdu Panda Base before launching the 2013 Global Panda Conservation Tour next year. As part of their role to raise awareness about conservation, they will travel to all the cities in which pandas live and promote the awareness message to local communities.