My Halloween 2006 jack'o'lantern
I don't like pandas. Yes, they are cute and exotic and gentle, and Kung Fu Panda was funny (especially the dumpling scene), but when I think of how much money has been spent trying to "save the pandas," I feel sick. They are endangered for a couple of reasons: they are weak and picky eaters, and humans are strong and invasive. Let them be a lesson to kids who won't eat anything with onions (I'm talking to you, Nick!). Pickiness does not foster robustness; it fosters extinction!
The cost of trying to save these flimsy communists is in the millions. Breeding programs, research into why pandas are so lame, and hand-raising twin cubs (because mother pandas will only take care of one at a time. Do the pandas even want to be saved? This hardly strikes me as them doing their part)-all to save one species that's ecological impact is minimal. I know I'm oversimplifying, but really, nothing eats pandas (panda tacos, anyone?), and bamboo is pretty much all that pandas eat. Let the pandas die and what happens? There's a little more bamboo in the world, and the World Wildlife Fund suffers a crushing blow to morale and loses their mascot. Meanwhile, the funds that have been going to pandas can go to feed starving children. (This reminds me of the fiasco that was Keiko the whale. His reintroduction to the wild cost millions. And what did he do to put the funds to good use? He died a little over a year after being set free.) When I see a panda, I see a waste of money, discrimination against ugly endangered animals, and a nice fur vest.
It costs a female panda's weight in gold (at today's rates) to rent a pair from China for two years ($2 million a year, with a ten-year contract). I don't understand why they are so enchanting. I saw a pair of them at the San Diego Zoo with my family when I was a kid. We waited in a super long line to see them because if more than a small group of people watch them at once they stress out and die. I was so excited to see the "gentle giants." But what did we get? Two color-blocked bean bags, chewing their cuds. I could have gotten the same at a dairy in Nampa.
Stop the madness, shoot a panda.