While most of 2015 was technically the Year of the Goat, in truth, it was the Year of the Panda. Check out the biggest stories, greatest achievements and most impossibly cute moments in a banner year for China’s most adorable and awkward form of soft power:
10) World’s second oldest panda celebrates her 35th birthday
A panda’s life span in the wild is about 20 years, so it’s a pretty damn big deal when one turns 35, like Basi did earlier this year at a research center in Fujian, making her the world’s second oldest panda. She celebrated her special day with favorite snacks and hats, surrounded by people dressed in panda costumes.
The party looks like a lot more fun than the one thrown for the world’s oldest male panda in September, who got some fruitcake for his 30th b-day:
9) After five years of study, Chinese researchers learn panda language basics
At long last, Chinese scientists decoded the complex language of the panda earlier this year, working out the meaning of 13 different giant panda vocalizations, so that we can all finally understand what they are always yammering on about.
This would be way higher in the list if we had in fact managed to learn anything useful from the findings. Spending five years of meticulous study to learn that when a lady panda tweets like a bird, she is either responding to a lover’s advances or anxiously trying to find her baby, isn’t really doing it for us.
8) Watch: Male panda attracts mate by urinating while doing handstand
Speaking of doing it for us! Scientists did manage to make more exciting advances in our understanding of pandas this year, including capturing footage for the very first time that shows the rather esoteric mating ritual of at least one male panda, who urinates while doing a handstand to impress the ladies.
In the clip, the horny panda pushes his left leg against the tree and starts to urinate on the bark, positioned half-upside down. He then gets down, walks to another tree about 10 meters away, smells it, then repeats the action. It’s not a video of a panda masturbating, but hey, it’s still something.
INTERLUDE: SNACK BREAK
It's feeding time!
Posted by Shanghaiist on Thursday, December 3, 2015
7) Wild panda wanders into Sichuan village to steal honey
Back in September, a wild panda wandered from the depths of the forest into a Sichuan farm to prove it was a real bear and chow down on 10 hive-fulls of honey.
6) Giant panda accused of ‘faking pregnancy’ for better treatment
Over the summer, a female panda named Yuan Yuan at the Taipei Zoo actually managed to fake her own pregnancy in order to be relocated to fancier accommodations.
While this may seem like assholish behavior at first from an animal whose species is verging on extinction, in the end we can’t really blame Yuan Yuan, it’s not like she has any choice anyway.
INTERLUDE: CLEANING TIME
It's cleaning time for these pandas!
Posted by Shanghaiist on Sunday, November 22, 2015
5) Sichuan panda sets record for sexual stamina after finishing the deed in 7 minutes, 45 seconds
In April, a pair of pandas at the Sichuan Giant Panda Research Center set an important, if not long-lasting, milestone, managing to mate for a grand total of seven minutes and 45 seconds (longer than the average man in Cuba).
For those interested in the mechanics of it all, here is some totally NSFW panda porn we posted earlier:
4) Panda refuses to take part in live sex show
While obviously pandas getting it on is a big deal, we are happy to report that some pandas aren’t always cool with helping scientists indulge in their weird sex fantasies.
Earlier this year, a Chinese TV channel which broadcasts live panda mating was disappointed when the star of the show, a giant male panda, got stage fright and couldn’t manage to rise to the occasion.
3) Pandas attempt to mate for first time, go at it for 40 minutes
Still, gotta give respect where it’s due. Putting many of us to shame, this year a pair of pandas in Singapore were in the throes of passion for an entire 40 minutes.
Even more astounding, this was Kai Kai and Jia Jia’s first sexual encounter. Obviously, it was love at first sight:
2) CUTE ALERT: Video of baby pandas wrestling will make you feel alive again
This video shows why we are all so obsessed with panda sex habits, as a bunch of cubs break out into a fuzzy mass brawl that could melt even the coldest of hearts.
INTERLUDE: NAP TIME
Shhh! Baby pandas are trying to sleep. <3
Posted by Shanghaiist on Wednesday, October 28, 2015
1) Ten panda cubs make their adorable public debut in Sichuan
So, in a truly landmark year for panda baby making, how could our top spot not go to the heartwarming debut of TEN completely adorable panda cubs at a giant breeding and research center in Ya’an city, Sichuan.
Who knows what we will have learned about these proud and majestic creatures by the time these little guys are all grown up.
WE LEAVE YOU WITH THIS…
Why pandas are endangered.
Posted by Shanghaiist on Sunday, October 18, 2015