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Ai Hin's strange stomach ache

Posted by Alberto Bertolazzi on
Lo strano mal di pancia di Ai Hin

"Now all these people who hang around me enjoy making judgments. There's that American guy who came specifically to visit me and who's going around saying that I'm very intelligent. The tall one with glasses, on the other hand, comes from Australia , and thinks I have hormonal problems. That other doctor - I like her - instead talks to me and cuddles me. She has a lot of courage, I must say: she comes closer and looks me in the eyes, even though she knows very well that with a paw I could break her neck. It's happened before, and they reminded her of it, because we giant pandas can be surprisingly aggressive. On the other hand, we are similar to bears, although apparently our closest relative is the raccoon.

However, the doctor understood everything: there is no point in trying to attribute human characteristics to me, there is no point in wasting time studying what is wrong with my biology. I am perfectly normal, and like everyone I invent survival strategies that give me advantages. What happened? Ah, sorry, I'm not good at putting things in the right order. On the other hand, it is not true that I am very intelligent: not as humans intend. I don't plan my future, so to speak. But I have a great instinctive reasonableness: no logic and all substance, you could say.

In short, I try to tell from the beginning. My name is Ai Hin and I have lived at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Center in China as long as I can remember. I am female and for this reason I am under close observation. There are 2000 of us giant pandas left on the planet and it is clear how important my role is in avoiding extinction: I have to make cubs, possibly many. But nature has not been benevolent: we are only fertile two days a year and, as they say, "we have to seize the day"... And then we are very sensitive to an infinite number of factors: the climate, our diet , the pollution, the crowding... However, some of us got pregnant. At that point, the real surprise was the attention with which they were treated: better food, continuous care, a secluded bed, even massages and grooming, air conditioning. They were staying in some sort of luxury hotel with a spa... This didn't go unnoticed by me, and for a while I just harbored the useless hope that I too was pregnant. Then I started to get jealous. Finally, my body did everything on its own, drawing from my brain only those two or three inputs necessary to start the charade: so I started showing signs of pregnancy, which fooled the doctors for a while. I was sluggish, I barely moved, I had no appetite, I was bloated, with a stomach ache. Being a fairly rare event, I even ended up in the newspapers. But after two months under observation, my body returned to normal.

Here's how it went. The experts understood that I had learned the behaviors of my peers when they were pregnant and, seeing that they had benefits from it, I began to imitate them. How about? Did I do anything wrong?"

The drawings accompanying this article are taken from the book Build a Giant Panda in 3D by David Hawcock.

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