You may have seen them pass on social media. Videos of pandas sliding on snow in the Washington Zoo on Sunday, Jan.31, went viral. And for many, the show was “cute”. However, for PETA France spokesperson Anissa Putois, if he is “natural to be moved by these images“is a whole different reality that must be understood.”These images should serve to remind us that these animals are not objects of entertainment, that they each have their own interests in living, in enjoying their freedom and that they do not belong to us.“, she explains.
Among the pandas seen in the image: Mei Xiang, a female from China. “She has been in the Washington Zoo for almost 20 years, over 20 years. It is mainly used there for reproduction but three of its babies died and the others were sent back to China.“, says Anissa Putois.”The flip side is that these animals, which are sentient and intelligent beings as we know, live a lifetime in captivity.“, deplores the spokesperson for PETA France. Also, she explains that many pandas often suffer physically and mentally, in particular because of”the frustration and distress of being locked up and not being able to engage in behaviors that are natural, that are essential to them“.
By 1980, there were only 1,114 pandas left in the wild, all in China. The last census carried out by China in 2013 estimated that there were 1,864 individuals left. The species is still considered “vulnerable”. There are believed to be around 600 captive pandas around the world, including 162 in zoos outside of China.