Why Do Pandas Always Get Chinese Names?

The world isn't ready for a
non-Chinese named panda.
Even when pandas are born in America they’re still given Chinese names like Yun Zi and Mei Pei. How come you can’t ever see a panda named Charlotte or Trey? Usually when you meet Chinese people in America they have Americanized names: Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, etc. When Chinese people come to America or are born in America they usually get American names. Why isn’t this done with pandas? Yes Pandas are from China, but lions are from Africa. You don’t see as many lions in zoos with traditional African names.

There’s actually a panda in the Atlanta Zoo right now named Lun Lun, but its birth name given to it in China was Hua Hua. Even when they decide to rename a panda they still give it a Chinese name. Why not Jeff? Or Theresa? I think the answer is that the Chinese names make the panda seem cuter. No one wants to go see a panda named Stuart, but we’ll line up in droves to see Mei Lan or Po.

I’m not saying pandas NEED to have American names when they’re born in America, but it just seems weird to me that they ALWAYS have Chinese names. It seems like less of a tradition and more of a gimmick. It’s like always naming a German Shepherd Friedrich or Adolph. We don’t have to give people names to fit where they came from is all I’m saying. I guess there’s just something frightening to people about a panda named Gary.

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