There comes a point in one’s life where naming a “favorite animal” is considered childish but secretly everybody still has one. I personally don’t agree with the negative idea behind the word “childish”. We’re all children and I think it’s important to not take life too seriously and to stay in touch with your inner child.
For the sake of not sounding “childish” though, I’m going to use the word “spirit animal”. That’s a way of expressing your favorite animal while not sounding childish, but hipster.
My spirit animal is definitely a panda. A giant panda. It’s a sad given that there are less than 1,900 of them left in the world. The giant panda is an endangered species mainly due to the ever-growing industrial and economic landscape of China. The infrastructure is damaging and confining the natural habitat of the giant panda. And then there’s the a-hole poachers that hunt pandas for their hides.
I got the fortunate opportunity of seeing giant pandas in Chiang Mai Zoo in Thailand. There’s a lot of criticism regarding zoos and keeping animals in captivity. However, most zoos that have giant pandas also have breeding programs to possibly enlarge the panda population or to simply keep them in this world. This, of course, is a good thing. But maybe pandas like being such an exclusive, rare species because getting pandas to mate has proven quite difficult.
Why? Well, it seems that pandas become reluctant to mate once in captivity. Or to put it in to better terms, they lose interest. They would rather eat and sleep than mate. Mating has become something they have to do instead of something they want to do. Mating for pandas is kind of like doing taxes for humans.
They say that mating is one of the primary needs that an animal has, that would mean that mating is necessary to keep alive which technically is not true. Sleeping and eating however, well that of course is. Pandas prioritize.
The tax company in our country has a slogan: “We can’t make it any more fun, but we can make it easier”. And that’s exactly what the breeders got to work on as well.
Now I understand that mating and reproduction as a result is a primary need for animals because it ensures the existence of that species. Panda breeders realize this as well so in order to get the pandas excited to jump into bed with each other, they tried several methods. Now of course there’s a lot of science that goes into breeding programs but sometimes, the answer might be more simple than one realizes.
There have been instances in which pandas have been given Viagra. The drug that can create heart problems and solve hard problems. I don’t have to explain to you what it is or what it does. This “solution” has proven to be ineffective however and researchers needed something that would not only enable the pandas, but make them actually want it.
And the method they came up with, is a little more interesting. They actually show pandas videos of other pandas mating. Panda porn. There’s even an adult-panda star. His name?
At the Sichuan Giant Panda Research Center in China, Lu Lu earned his adult-panda celebrity status because he was able to mate for 18 minutes and 3 seconds. Most pandas last 30 seconds to 5 minutes. The mating experts were so amazed at this, they showed other pandas this amazing feat on tape to try to get them excited to try it out themselves.
It was actually at the Chiang Mai Zoo, the one I visited, where they tried out this method first and panda porn has proven to be an effective way to get pandas a little more interested in mating. Their reluctance to mate is only making pandas face extinction even more, sadly. So put on some Barry White and a good old Lu Lu video, and get it on pandas ’cause we don’t want to see you disappear.
A big out to the breeders and the rest of the people putting themselves out there for the sake of animal conservation though. It’s important to take good care of our planet and of the animals living on it. The human race is only tainting this planet further with the ever-growing industries and other big machines creating new problems for nature every day.
We’re not alone on this planet. Wanna help a panda out?
Check out this initiative by the WWF where you can adopt your panda. Don’t worry, they don’t actually ship a panda to your home. And just to clarify, we’re not being sponsored (who would want to sponsor us right now anyway?) we just care about pandas.