Monday, September 04, 2006

wild animal kingdom: panda-monium!

It's been six months since our last Wild Animal Kingdom post, so we figured it was about time we did an update ... on pandas!

The giant panda: cute, cuddly, and the face of the World Wildlife Fund. With a CV like that, you'd think that it would be completely harmless. Well, I hate to break it to you, but you think wrong. Take note of the panda above ... the bamboo is just a starter, before he eats your face as the main course! So be forewarned. About pandas.

(Cue National Geographic theme music here).

Here at starfish and waffles, we aim to bring you the world. Unfortunately, many of the fascinating animals in our kingdom - the wild animal kingdom - do not live within a walkable radius of our head offices in western Canada, which presents us with something of a problem when we're searching for new material for this series. One example of such an elusive animal: the giant panda of south and central China, one of the world's most recognizable and beloved mammals.

So, never in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine we could bring you footage of the giant panda. That is, until we learned about two months ago that my long-estranged brother was planning a wildlife expedition to south and southeast Asia. Perhaps a deal could be worked out?

Immediately, we dispatched our editor to negotiate. It took a suitcase full of unmarked bills and a promise of non-disclosure, but eventually an agreement was reached. Later, my editor would remark it was kind of strange that my brother had worn to the meetings a hat made of ivory, a suit made of baby seal skins and mocassins made of minks, but he was so excited about securing exclusive footage of wild Chinese pandas, he didn't think anything of it at the time.

Fast forward to yesterday. We received an anonymous email, with several panda pictures attached. Our wild panda pictures had come in! Or had they? Upon closer inspection, the wild pandas pictured mysteriously looked like zoo pandas. Feeling cheated, I shook my fist in the air and shouted:

"That wasn't part of the deal, Blackheart! THAT WASN'T PART ... !!!"

So ... yeah. Here are a couple of zoo panda pictures. Hopefully they're wild enough for you.

An An, an adult male panda resident of the Ocean Park (Zoo), Hong Kong.

Bear or raccoon? For years, the taxonomic classification of the giant panda has been the subject of heated scientific debate. My editor tells me pandas are definitely bears, but I think his opinion is biased.


  1. hehehe!
    Dingobear, what a delightful and funny Wild Animal Kingdom post!
    I suspect those Chinese, poverty-appropriating pandas are actually quite well-off.
    And, your brother's business attire- well I hear that's the going post-establishment fad for Animal Right's NGO CEO's these days...:)

  2. Hi -c! Yes, either your explanation of my brother's business attire is the correct one, or else he's simply become a poacher. Well, if it's the latter, at least he's working again!

  3. I had a student once named Pandy. Every time I took attendance I had intense panda visions.

    Pandavision=cool band name

  4. Hi LD, haha, Pandy? That kid's parents were cruel.

    Agree that Pandavision is a cool band name, add it to your next list. Also a cool band name: Pandarama-rama. Probably works best for a ska band, I think.