Every now and then, a video of a captive animal engaged in what seems to be a harmless, “cute” activity goes viral, eliciting a great deal of positive coverage and comments about how “sweet” the animal is. Sadly, those who react in this way fail to understand the cramped, isolated lives that animals often lead in zoos, marine parks, and other facilities that aim to display them as objects of human amusement.
Whenever we see a “cute” video that shows an exotic animal engaged in an activity that does not come naturally to them, it is vital to analyze whether there may be hidden exploitation at work. A few years ago, one prominent example of this was the infamous YouTube clip “Tickling Slow Loris.” This video was widely lauded as “adorable” and “sweet,” and even led to a significant rise in the demand for lorises as pets. Sadly, this has been extremely damaging to these endangered animals, many of whom have been torn from their families and their natural homes in order to supply the exotic pet trade.
And now, a heartbreaking new clip has been shared by CCTV News China. It shows a captive panda cub desperately attempting to escape their enclosure at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. The video – which can be viewed in full on CCTV News’ Facebook page – reveals, in heartbreaking detail, just how desperately the panda yearns to be free.
The clip begins with the cub frantically scratching at a door.
The bear then moves on to the small grate at the bottom of the door…
… but here, too, the efforts are unsuccessful.
The baby panda then tries to claw out of the enclosure through another door…
… but ends up falling.
The cub is soon found by a researcher…
…who immediately takes them away from the door, putting an end to their escape attempts.
Sadly, it is not clear whether this panda will ever have the chance to see the outside world … but one thing that any animal lover can be sure of is that the animal’s efforts to escape are heartbreaking, not funny. Pandas are the most endangered bear species on our planet and urgently require our help, but serious doubt has been cast over the effectiveness of captive breeding programs for these animals. Making a greater effort to conserve the pandas’ natural habitat – rather than being in any way amused by the actions of a captive panda who is clearly struggling to cope with their cramped surroundings – is the best way to help them.
Here are a couple of ways you can make a genuine difference for pandas:
- Adopt a Panda through The World Wildlife Federation.
- Support the work of conservation group Pandas International.
All Image Source: CCTV News/Facebook