There are “fandoms” for many people/things on the internet, and I have never really had an interest in any of them, until I discovered the amazing community of pandas and various other wildlife lovers on Twitter! I first learned of it when I was in Disneyland Paris in 2016, and heard that a baby panda named Yuan Meng had made his public debut (or his dayboo, as I like to call it) at the Beauval Zoo (ZooParc De Beauval), which was not overly far from Disneyland! I searched for the zoo on Twitter, and there I discovered that Yuan Meng also had his own “account” (not affiliated with the zoo). The person running the account was posting as though they were the widdle pandie, and I just found it so adorable, as they have conversations with other accounts for “famous” pandas. This may sound confusing and/or silly, but I love the innocence and cuteness of it all! Turns out it was a bit too far and expensive to visit the zoo on my trip, but I 100% plan to visit later this year or next year!
Turns out there are lots of famous pandas, and on Twitter they all have different “personalities” (obviously created by the human running the account, but I will admit I am more than happy to pretend it is the individual pandas themselves that are tweeting!). This type of account exists for other popular zoo animals as well, like Moke the gorilla, and Fiona the baby hippo. Famous pandas include, Yuan Meng, Bao Bao, Bei- Bei, Mei Xing and many more! They all have a large fanbase and there are SO many accounts that post adorable pandie pics, and it is not surprising, as pandas are so cute that it makes me emotional! I mean, all animals are beautiful and amazing, but there is something about pandas that just stands out for me as the absolute definition of perfection 😀
I love talking to animal lovers all over the world, and one the friends I have made, Anne, designs adorable and funny panda cartoon strips, which have proved so popular over the years, that she has now opened a store where fans can buy various merchandise featuring her cartoon characters, which include the cutest needle felt “emotional support” pandas. I have one, and the attention to detail is amazing! You can see Anne’s free panda cartoon website here: https://www.yourbrainonpandas.com/ I also love how the community has it’s own unique phrases for cute things/actions. My favourite word so far has been “swiffering”, which I learnt from Yuan Meng. It means when a mother panda moves her cub around on the floor, creating the illusion that the baby is being used as a mop.
I was also planning to take a “My Panda Tour” of China in June this year, but unfortunately due to the current coronavirus pandemic, this will need to be postponed, probably until next year, which is a shame, as the tours are personalised so that guests can get really close to the pandas at all the bases they visit over the 3/4 days, and help out with general panda care. At one base, guests are able to feed and stoke a baby panda twice a day!! I was able to get my deposit back, and thankfully had not booked flights, so am grateful for that. When I am able to take the tour/holiday, I am going to stay at an amazing hotel in Chengdu, right next to the panda base, where the entire layout and design, is based around pandas. I think some rooms have views of the actual base as well, and I would TOTALLY pay more money to be able to wake up each morning to the sights and sounds of pandas. That would actually be my dream way to wake up! (Although if I were to wake up to a baby panda coodling on my pillow or duvet, that would be even more dreamy!)
There is an amazing video on YouTube of 23 baby pandas making their public dayboo in China. Simply type in “Baby panda debut”- no need to thank me! You will be confronted with more snoogley goodness, if you were to search for “Giant panda puts baby back to bed”. There is also the classic “Sneezing baby panda” video, which someone decided to make a film about, resulting in 90 minutes of stock footage of Russian spies and army tanks, with the occassional clip of pandas photoshopped into house parties and spaceships. Obviously.
I love escaping into the innocent online world of wildlife, and some days I have more productive conversations with pandas, than I do humans! The photo at the top of this blog, is an adorable shot of Yuan Meng and his Mamon (Mum) when he was still only an ickle pickle!