Bamboo famously makes up 99% of a panda’s diet. The other 1%? Trash.
At least that was the case for one poor panda at a government-run zoo in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, that was photographed scavenging through piles of litter that tourists had thrown into its enclosure.
Last week, photos of the garbage-eating panda went viral on Chinese social media, sparking outrage among netizens, who worried that the “world’s saddest panda” might get sick from eating too much “junk food.”
It seems that, at the time, zookeepers did not nothing to clean up the empty bottles, plastic bags, rotten fruit and deflated balloons that had been dropped into the panda’s home. While some villainized the zoo, others pointed the finger at the untidy tourists. Ultimately, most agreed that both parties were to blame.
“The disgraceful tourists and the negligent staff are both just trash,” one Weibo user wrote.
The Taiyuan zoo has since apologized for the situation and had cleaned up the panda’s enclosure by the end of last week. They also put the panda (named “Shunshun”) under medical observation, but so far haven’t noticed anything unusual.
While the zoo acknowledged its own negligence in the matter, they also defended themselves by asserting that the zoo had welcomed an overabundance of visitors last week (34,000 on the day in question), and while staff members tried to stop tourists from feeding the animals, there were simply too many people littering.
Sigh. The only thing you should be feeding a panda, is a popsicle.
[Images via Weibo]