Giant Pandas in evolutionary identity crisis

The Beijing Department of Animal Studies last night announced a startling breakthrough in their fight to re-establish the endangered Giant Panda. It is thought the discovery, reported on Chinese television network CCTV, could herald a new era in the fight to save the species.

“During clinical trials conducted by a team of international scientists” the network stated “A member of team made an astonishing discovery”

“It was noticed that every single Panda answered to the name Leroy”.

“We were in the midst of studying a segment of the animals genome thought to contain clues to breeding habits. It was pretty late and I was getting rather drowsy, so I shouted for the intern to bring me coffee” revealed Svetlana Alikov, the lead researcher on the project.

What followed next has been described by the international scientific community as the most significant moment in the species’ 45 year long fight against extinction.

“The pandas in the holding pen started behaving restlessly and after a few moments, the adolescent female Zhu-Lin bustled off, returning 3 minutes later with a caramel macchiato” she continued.

“I was stunned. Turns out, all you have to do is address them as Leroy and they do exactly what you ask.”

This morning the research teamed outlined a 10-year selective breeding programme – previously thought impossible due to difficulties involved in achieving successful copulation – to restore the population to a self-sustaining level.

There are fears, however, that the animal – native to Western China – may struggle to re-establish itself on the Asian continent. American Brett Johnson, technician on the project, highlighted the issues concerned:

“There is one simple hurdle in the panda’s fight for survival in Asia” he explained “the Chinese people couldn’t pronounce ‘l’ correctly if their own mother was being mauled by a llama.”

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