Remember when the National Zoo let giant panda cub Bao Bao and her mother, Mei Xiang, play outside after a light snowfall last month? Little Bao Bao rolled around the yard, struggling to stand up and walk two steps. It sure was divisive.
Well, don’t get your hopes up for a repeat today. The National Zoo, which opened at noon today following Monday night’s snowstorm, is putting several of its hairier mammals outside today, but not the pandas.
We’re opening at noon today. All animal houses open & warm, giant pandas likely inside.
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) February 17, 2015
As of this writing, the mostly sedentary pandas are loafing around their enclosed, artificially heated, indoor habitat, comfortably secure from the elements. What a joke. By the zoo’s own description of the species, giant pandas should be able to handle a bit of snow and cold.
“The temperate forests of central China where giant pandas live receive about 30 to 40 inches of rain and snow a year,” reads the zoo’s page about the pandas. “Charleston, West Virginia—a city with a similar temperate climate—receives about the same amount of rain and snow: an average of 42.5 inches a year.”
The District, by comparison, receives an average of about 55 inches of rain and snow per year. Put those bears outside.
UPDATE, 3:48 PM: Some panda aficionados might suggest that Bao Bao and her ilk meandered into the snow this morning, with the moment being captured on the panda-cam. But that was when the zoo was still clearing out from last night’s snowfall and there were no humans around to see the pandas do what they were born to do: roll around in the snow. Where were the pandas when we needed them? Panda-cam? More like panda-scam, amirite?
Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.