Thursday, December 01, 2005

Panda profundities

Comments on the panda pic are too true. You can adore a panda cub, but it's probably not a good idea to try cuddling it. A friend in a record company once told me she'd gone into an open-to-public cub enclosure in a lion park in South Africa, full of apparently cute, biggish kitties, where one little inhabitant took a liking to her and decided to attach itself to her leg with full complement of teeth and claws. She must be the only classical press attachee in town to have been mauled by a lion.

My fuzziest-ever encounter was with a koala in Cairns, Queensland, about five years ago. They let you hold him for about five seconds, just long enough to take your photo with him, before whisking him away to the next besotted tourist. Koalas don't much like being loved, so he's rationed to about half an hour in the morning and the same in the late afternoon and he didn't half look fed up by the time we reached him. I think he was doped up on gum leaves too. But he was definitely the softest animal I've ever met and I wanted to abduct him. Not sure he'd like the climate here, though. And even if we put a eucalyptus tree in the conservatory, I understand there could be a problem with koala pong.

The lesson to learn is this: the most desirable creatures, whether charismatic, exotic or fuzzy, are not necessarily the ones that are good for us or that we could live with successfully. I fear the same is true of human beings.