Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

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The Teachings of the Giant Panda: Embrace Diversity

Recently Mei Xiang, the resident Giant Panda, at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. gave birth to twins. What does the Giant Panda has to teach us? And why are Pandas important?

 A survivor of the last Ice Age, Giant Panda belongs to the oldest family of the most primitive bears (Ailuropodinae). Although He has a digestive system of a meat eater, Giant Panda feeds exclusively on bamboo. Until DNA testing became available, scientists could not identify what Mammal Family Giant Panda belonged to.

Sitting on his rump, this ancient Bear grasps bamboo shoots and calmly munches away at them. His “thumb” makes Giant Panda unique among animals. This elongated wrist bone gives Him an extra opposable digit on his paw. Giant Panda uses this as a “hand” when He eats.

Because bamboo was so plentiful and widespread in South Asia, Giant Panda decided to become solely dependent on this plant. Now that the bamboo forests are fragmented, Giant Panda is severely endangered. Because of his specialization, He cannot go back to the omnivore habits of his fellow Bears.

Giant Panda asks people to embrace diversity. He is a Bear who eats exclusively plants. He has a “thumb” unlike any other Animal. However, do not become so unique that you endanger yourself.

Teaching of the Giant Panda: “What is black and white and black and white and black and white? Pandas symbolize the diversity and tenacity of life.” Copyright: Lance Craighead, “Bears of the World.”

Wisdom of the Giant Panda:

Being Unique


Becoming a Vegetarian

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Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  


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