Pandas Who Mated During Early Pandemic Now Regret Bringing Baby Panda Into This Cruel World
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the news wasn’t all bad. The world rejoiced in April when a couple of giant pandas, an endangered species notorious for being reluctant to mate in captivity, took a trip to pound town. According to the staff of Hong Kong’s Ocean Park zoo, Ying Ying and Le Le were all too happy to bump uglies once they weren’t being observed all day long.
“For years we thought it was indigestion making them lethargic,” said zookeeper Li Wing. “It turns out you perverts were just creeping them out.”
Roughly ten months later, the pandas have welcomed a bouncing baby boy and are thriving in new parenthood—or they were.
“At first, Ying Ying and Le Le saw their new baby as a beautiful symbol of renewal in a dark time,” said Li. “A fresh start, a piece of hope. But now, in February 2021, their baby’s innocence seems like a mockery of the misery and suffering of existence. Le Le, in particular, regrets bringing a pure-hearted being into a world that is so unrelentingly cruel.”
The baby panda himself is relatively oblivious to his fate and is mostly concerned with classic panda activities like sneezing and seeing how far he can cram a stick of bamboo up his nose. Meanwhile, his mother and father are finding it difficult to be new parents in these tumultuous times.
“I think on some level, Ying Ying and Le Le hoped the birth of their son would mend their shaky relationship,” said Li, “but instead it seems to have brought their resentments to the surface. The truth is Ying Ying wasn’t ready to stop living for herself yet. She still hoped to travel, to see the world. She intended to transfer to a zoo in Taiwan, but when the world locked down she decided to settle down with Le Le instead. The arrival of their child has only made her more painfully aware of her unhappiness and the opportunities that have passed her by.”
Fans of Ying Ying and Le Le can watch them attend couples therapy on the zoo’s live Panda Cam, streaming 24/7 on the Ocean Park website.