Indignation at pet owning South Korean girl band after handling baby panda

Blackpink members handle panda cub
Blackpink members handle panda cub. Montage: Social media.
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Background

Blackpink is a South Korean girl band formed by YG Entertainment consisting of members Jisoo, Jenniw, Rosé and Lisa. Everland in South Korea as a theme park and vacation resort located in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do. It opened in April 1976. At the resort they have a three-month-old baby panda, Fu Bao, who was born at the resort. All giant pandas are the property of China which rents them to zoos around the world. So we have to conclude that Fu Bao belongs to the Chinese government.

Handling the panda

The girls of Blackpink apparently own dogs and cats or at least some of them do (see below Lily who lives with Lisa). They were filmed cuddling Fu Bao at the resort. It was quite possibly a promotional video of some sort.

Criticism

The handling of the panda cub has prompted intense criticism on social media in China which is a big market for K-pop (Korean pop). The China Wildlife Conservation Association has written to the Everland Resort reminding it of rules which apparently specify that only keepers or vets can handle pandas, Therefore the girls of this band were in alleged breach of the agreement.

Blackpink: Rosé, Jennie, Lisa, and Jisoo.
Blackpink: Rosé, Jennie, Lisa, and Jisoo. Photo: Wikipedia under CC.

Cats and dogs

There was particular indignation because the four women often published photographs of themselves online with their dogs and cats which, it is said (as part of the criticism) carry germs which are dangerous to pandas. They appear to have referred to the death of four giant pandas in 2015 after contracting the canine distemper virus at a breeding centre in Sichuan.

Lily lives with Lisa
Lily lives with Lisa. Photo: Reddit.com

On the Chinese social media website, Weibo, the hashtag “Blackpink touched panda cub wrongly” has been viewed millions of times and appeared in 55,000 posts. YG entertainment have disputed that there was a risk to the panda in saying:

All Blackpink members wore sanitary gloves, masks and protective clothing when they were in contact with the baby panda and they sanitised their hands and shoes during every transition between takes. Nevertheless in respect of international cooperation practice and recommendations from panda experts that non-professionals having close contact with the baby panda can cause misunderstandings, we decided to withhold the release of the video.

The video clip showing the girl band members handling the panda has been removed from YouTube.

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