Panda’s just might be the most charismatic animal on the planet and if someone would ever even think about suggesting they be hunted the back lash would be so sever it would make Cecil the lion
backlash look like a tea party. But what is ironic about pandas is that they owe a part of their iconic position to the fact that they were hunted. Now they were not hunted for sport or meat but they were hunted for science.
Back in 1929 during an expedition sponsored by the Fields Museum the son’s of President Theodore Roosevelt killed and brought back to the United States a Giant Panda. They also brought back a
second panda that bought off of a local Chinese hunter. Both of these specimens still sit in the Fields Museum in Chicago.
The panda they bagged was the first to be killed by “white men” as the New York Times put it.
Even sightings were rare, and some doubted the giant panda really existed. But they deliver proof the bear existence and set off the panda craze that we see today.
Starting in the 1950’s China would use our love for Panda’s to help open them up to the world through what became known as “Panda Diplomacy.” Basically they used Pandas as diplomatic gifts to
establish diplomatic relations with other countries including the United States.
In 1972 after Nixon became the first president to ever visit china, the United States exchanged a pair Musk Ox for the now famous Pandas, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing. This exchange marks the beginning of diplomatic relations with the communist country.
But none of that would have been possible without Theodore Jr. and Kermit Roosevelt first hunting the iconic animal. You can read about their expedition in their book “Hunting the Giant Panda.”
You can also read a more in-depth article put out by the Chicago Tribune by CLICKING HERE