Yes, we know that they’re adorable and majestic (which is kind of incredible, considering that they subsist on the Regina George “all carb” diet of bamboo followed by more bamboo and topped off with a little bamboo chaser). But Bloomberg‘s Timothy Lavin isn’t having any of it, and yesterday he wrote a piece titled “I Hate Pandas and You Should Too” to explain why.
See, Lavin doesn’t think everybody should get so excited about the National Zoo’s newest and cuddliest resident, because pandas are really just…marketing tools!!
Canada apparently spent $10 million last year renting the animals from China in order to convince more citizens to visit its zoos—money that Lavin thinks could and should have been spent on real-world conservation efforts. The Chinese government itself spends exorbitant amounts on maintaining its zoos’ panda populations because they’re seen as symbols of national pride. This charade continues despite the fact that caring for pandas is five times as expensive as doing the same for elephants; they reproduce so rarely that we have to use artificial insemination and they’re destroying their own limited habitat with their bamboo addiction.
Lavin’s not the first to make this argument, either: in 2009 the BBC’s resident wildlife expert wrote that giant pandas “should be allowed to die out” with “a degree of dignity”, because he is a big old meanie—and a man who studies pandas at Beijing University recently said that trying to reintroduce them to their natural habitats is as “pointless as taking off the pants in order to fart.”
We were all “Team Panda” at first, but there’s no point in arguing against such airtight logic.