Pandas are kind of like the Michael Moores of the animal kingdom. They're fat, stupid, and receive an obscene amount of media coverage. Sure, anyone who's anyone wants good diplomatic relations with China, but the Thai media's obsession with the baby panda has gone too far and I feel compelled to speak out. AP has the details on this wretched beast's debut at the Chiang Mai Zoo:
The baby panda is tiny enough to be held in the hands of a zoo staffer.First off, any male who has trouble "mating" in the "Land of Smiles" has some serious problems with their libido. Second, the traditional animal of Thailand, the elephant (chaang/ช้าง) is a far more majestic creature capable of everything from playing soccer to warding off Burmese invaders. As an added bonus, it's part of a species that isn't keen on mauling humans.
Thais have been captivated by the cub since her birth May 27. For six years, the zoo had tried to mate its two adult pandas, both on loan from China. They held a mock wedding for the pair, showed the male, Chuang Chuang, "porn" videos of pandas mating, and finally turned to artificial insemination.
Newspapers have reported the baby panda's milestones and the public's reaction, including a giant cake measuring 4 feet by 5 feet (1.2 meters by 1.6 meters) donated by a Chiang Mai bakery to celebrate her one-month birthday. Some Chiang Mai hotels are offering special "meet the panda" rates for the next few months.
I'm not alone in this sentiment, as many Thai zookeepers are fighting back against this existential threat to Thailand's national sovereignty and pride:
With announcements of a 20 million baht snow house being built for the Panda family the keepers are wondering just why Thailand has forgotten that the Elephant is their national symbol.
Aside from speaking up about the problem the Elephant keepers at the Ayutthaya-Elephant Kraal have taken it one step further by painting five of their elephants to look like Pandas. This attention grabbing effort seems to be doing the job as Thai people are not only noticing but applauding their efforts. Although rumor has it some Panda lovers are slightly irked.
Note: I'm not just defending the elephant because I've become more right-wing lately, but I do find it surprisingly convenient.