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Thursday, October 12, 2006
36-year-old panda at Zoo Atlanta opens her eyes for first time
13:49:40 EDT Oct 12, 2006
ATLANTA (AP) - Zoo Atlanta's panda opened her eyes to the world's injustices for the first time on Thursday.
Zoo officials made the discovery during a physical examination of the 36-year-old female when the panda was given a newspaper for a toilet visit to produce a stool sample.
"She's probably able to see the shitty state of the world at last," said zoo veterinarian Dr. Maria Crane, adding that no pun was intended. "We noticed she's paying more attention to the news now."
Crane said it is hard to know how much Lunch Lunch actually understands of world affairs. The panda appeared slightly startled at one point when she read the headline that 655,000 Iraqis have died since 2003.
Seemingly reassured by Iraq war supporter US President George W. Bush, the panda freaked out again when she read about North Korea's recent nuclear test claims. The panda reputedly fears for her family still in the People's Republic of China.
An intervention by the park's zoologists (complete with chick flicks and a truck of cupcakes) calmed down the beloved panda.
Parents once again are bringing children to see the panda. Visitor numbers had dropped in the wake of the panda's grief, as the public did not want to be reminded.
"I want to protect my children from the news," said Sandy Johnson, mother of four-year-old twins. "Seeing Lunch Lunch so sad just kept reminding us that other people in the world were dying because of our government's policies. Who cares? Our zoos need to remain family-friendly."
Now that North Korea no longer merits front page headlines, the panda has settled back into merely completing the day's sudoku puzzle. She seems to be ignoring the erosion of women's rights in Nicaragua, and a zoo official even reported that Lunch Lunch said "Armenia who?" when she overhead talk of new French laws regarding the Armenian Genocide.
"She's a very solid panda," Crane said. "Her mind is nice and placid, and that's really a testament to how well Lunch Lunch is keeping her pretty little head out of international matters. And just in case this happens again, we gave her a gift certificate to the Gap."
© The Canadian Press, 2006
Labels: Rewriting the News
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