Photo from OS Universe
On Friday we reported that Tai Shan’s return to his Chinese roots might create a “normal” panda environment for the furry guy—one that would focus more on breeding and less on the panda cams and fan clubs of yesteryear. Well guess who just scored a corporate sponsorship, oodles of money and even more of a lifetime guarantee of fame and fortune?
A mere few hours after Tai Shan’s arrival into China on Thursday, the famous panda bear has won a gig as the new “image ambassador” to Sichuan Auto Industry Group. Oh snap, this bear moves fast.
The Chinese automaker reportedly offered one million yuan to sponsor the 4-year old panda for life. Although there was no elaboration on what exactly a furry, 184-pound“image ambassador” does, the corporate sponsorship guarantees that all Tai Shan’s daily food, health care and basic panda needs (like the mass production of life-size posters with his face on it) will be taken care of forever.
We should have guessed that a bear who blows into town on his own Boeing 777 freighter, with private language tutors and a dinner menu of fresh bamboo shoots and ’wotou’ steamed sorghum, would see the opportunity for “image ambassador” as the natural next step.
But for all the animal lovers out there and the legions of Tai Shan fans (who actually purchase those Tai Shan mugs, shirts, key rings and license plates) you can be rest assured that the beloved panda remains in good care despite his new claim to fame. Tai Shan will continue to live at the Bifengxia Panda Base in Ya’an City as part of China’s extensive breeding program. Moreover, Cao Guodong, the automaker’s deputy general manager, told the Washington Post that the company does not even expect Tai Shan to leave the panda base to do things such as, say, attend product launches.
But wait… No product launches? That means no parties. Sheesh. Next thing you know they’ll be skimping on the daily caviar snacks and Swedish massages too.