A year of panda cubs in Toronto

Seriously, is there anything cuter than giant panda cubs? I can’t think of anything, and that includes Pallas’s Cat kittens. Take 3½ minutes to watch this video from the Toronto Zoo, showing the first year in the life of two new cubs. The YouTube description:

On October 13, 2015 the Toronto Zoo announced the birth of the first giant panda cubs born in Canada. Both Jia Panpan (Canadian Hope) and Jia Yueyue (Canadian Joy) have been a delight to watch as they have grown from two very small and vulnerable cubs to healthy and thriving youngsters and Toronto Zoo staff have appreciated each and every milestone they have reached. The challenges balanced with the number of joyous moments over the last 365 days have provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us here at the Toronto Zoo, and we are thankful to everyone who shared it with us along the way.

Now my hope would be that these cubs would be returned to the wild, but I suspect that’s not on: they’ll serve as entertainment and as a source of dosh for the zoo. But these animals belong in the wild (granted, their habitat is vanishing), so what are we doing confining them in jails for their whole lives?

Panda fact: their scientific name is  Ailuropoda melanoleuca, which means “cat-footed black and white” (remember that fear of cats is “ailurophobia”).

h/t: Michael


  1. jrhs
    Posted October 13, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Thank you. They make me smile. I like their Chinese names.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 4:58 am | Permalink

      Why are so many panda names double-barrelled? Here in the UK we’ve had Chi-Chi and An-An (who famously failed to do what was expected of them).

  2. Posted October 13, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Panda Politics and the Optics of Photo Ops over leadership…. Harper vs Spence. Hunger strikes are rarely effective.

    Canadians using a PM name as a new swear word.

    meanwhile, Pandas become the apex species and have outsourced their continued existence to humans.

  3. don mackay
    Posted October 13, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    A very interesting scientific name for the panda. Hard to beat that of the fruit fly, though. Drosophila melanogaster, ‘lover of rotten stuff with a black gut’, if I remember correctly from Prof. Rattenbury’s lectures at Auckland Uni, way back.
    As for the pandas, are they really that excited by the wild?

  4. Posted October 13, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    This breaks my heart for all the right reasons. Such a shame that they will never experience the life that their ancestors did. Perhaps their habitat is dwindling, perhaps its on the Chinese to try to fix that, perhaps their DNA can be preserved and we’ll bring them back at another time when we can provide the environment they need, if not, species just go extinct, always have and always will, even us, part of the circle of life here on good old planet earth.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 13, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Compared to some species and some countries, in this particular case, the Chinese do eem to be doing the “right thing” in terms of stopping habitat damage, some degree of habitat restoration, and reintroduction of farmed animals to the wild population.
      While in general the Chinese government are not exactly standard-bearers (sorry) for conservation, this is a case where they’re managing the human-wild balance better than many governments, and should be commended for it.

    • Dominic
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 3:23 am | Permalink

      …you could say that about every species including us 😦

  5. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted October 13, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, is there anything cuter than giant panda cubs?

    There’s a tabby Hili prowling in the background, feeling jealous. This is not a healthy situation for the pandas. “Cat food and nice rugs combined,” thinks Hili?

  6. Arnold Gillespie
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Did Mum play any role in the upbringing of these two?

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