City Paper is not for tourists
A Chinese zookeeper has been suspended for denying food to Yong Ba, the elderly giant panda who birthed the National Zoo’s Tian Tian (otherwise known as our beloved Butterstick‘s aloof father/sperm-donor). The keeper and a souvenir shop were involved in a scheme that forced 25-year-old Yong Ba to pose for photos with visitors. After she did (and after the tourists ponied up 10 yuan, or about $1.50), the elderly panda would get a piece of apple on a stick. Otherwise, according to media reports, she was fed only two plates of milk and three buns. Someone, identified by Chinese media as a “netizen,” posted photos of Yong Ba’s condition and predicament on a popular online forum, launching an investigation. Chinese officials assert that the sole panda at Shenzhen Safari Park in the Sichuan province is healthy, despite having to bang on the door of her pen for food.