I had to include one! Looking at it dispassionately, surely pandas are an evolutionary frivolity. It takes a lot of bamboo to keep a panda happy. But it’s hard to name an animal that inspires more affection than this one.
Of course, pandas are severely endangered, with about 2-3,000 supposedly remaining in the wild. Captive breeding has been successful, but reintroduction seems to me like a pipe dream. And with increasing pressure on remaining habitat, it’s not clear that there will be much “wild” left for them to go to.
So, I like pandas as much as anyone. But at some level I can’t help wondering what we’re saving them for. Just as tourist attractions?