Farewell to the Two Gorgeous Giant Pandas for whom we cared in China

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Juvenile giant panda at the Chengdu Research B... Juvenile giant panda at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chengdu-pandas-d04-small Chengdu-pandas-d04-small (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Giant pandas eating bamboo at Chengdu... English: Giant pandas eating bamboo at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Showing they can hold the food with their hands. 中文: 成都大熊猫繁育研究基地的两只大熊猫正在吃竹子,它们可以用手抓住食物。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pandas!! (GIANT PANDA/WOLONG/SICHUAN/CHINA) Pandas!! (GIANT PANDA/WOLONG/SICHUAN/CHINA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A Giant Panda at Chengdu Research Bas... English: A Giant Panda at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Giant Pandas eating bamboo in Chengdu, Sichuan Giant Pandas eating bamboo in Chengdu, Sichuan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This after-noon, we sadly said farewell to Shangri and Chin Chin, the two Giant Pandas for whom we had been caring for two days in Ya’an, China.

We considered it to be a privilege  and an achievement to have been so close to such majestic animals.

Our two days voluntary work with the Giant Pandas was  planned to be a highlight of our extended trip to China. In reality…

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Opinion – Ambassador Panda–Special Coverage–People’s Daily Online – John Gelmini

English: Logo of the People's Daily 中文: 人民日报题字

English: Logo of the People’s Daily 中文: 人民日报题字 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pandas!! (GIANT PANDA/WOLONG/SICHUAN/CHINA)

Pandas!! (GIANT PANDA/WOLONG/SICHUAN/CHINA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Pandas are beautiful creatures, as Dr Alf knows from personal experience, and they are powerful diplomatic symbols as well.

The recent episode with a Chinese Panda feigning pregnancy to get itself moved into a cooler air conditioned environment where it would be treated better, given more bamboo shoots to eat and be showered with it’s favorite foods shows that they are also intelligent and cunning.

The ability to manipulate feelings demonstrates the capacity of the animal kingdom to surprise us with the magic of creation although people like Sir David Attenborough and Professor Richard Dawkins would attribute this to a series of arcane and random processes.

The Chinese Government wants the world to see itself as like the Pandas that Dr Alf and his wife cared for (fluffy, lovable, cuddly and harmless devourers of nothing more than bamboo shoots).

We need to learn to distinguish between how Pandas are, the nature of the Chinese Government and how the people are in that enormous country.

Making the mistake of equating all three to the characteristics of the Panda is not one we in the West can afford.

John Gelmini