There Is Actually A Chinese Zoo Where You Can Get Paid To Cuddle Pandas

Although it’s obviously a huge part of self-sufficiency in adulthood, I’m sure there are many of you who hate your jobs.

Getting up an ungodly hour and having to brave the roads or public transport is annoying enough, but having to spend eight hours a day doing a boring task with people you hate is pretty much the worst experience ever. Sometimes, you might just feel like writing an angry resignation letter to your boss, before setting your former place of employment alight in a blaze of glorious, cleansing flame.

But you don’t. Partly due to arson laws, I guess, but also because you need this job. It pays the bills, puts money on the table, and there’s nothing better out there for you.

Yet. But once I tell you about the new opportunity out in China, you’ll be updating your resumés and booking your flights right away. Pandas, right? They’re black, white and adorable, and we love a lot. What if you could be paid to play with pandas all day? Well, my friends, it turns out that you can!

As you may already know, pandas were on the endangered species list for a long time. Since 1990, humanity has been acutely aware of the possibility that pandas could be lost forever, and as a result, there has been a huge movement to get pandas to mate and raise cubs in captivity.

There’s no doubt the initiative helped; last year, pandas went up in the International Union for Conservation of Nature list from “endangered” to simply “threatened”, but it also means there are quite a few pandas that are used to being raised in captivity, meaning we’ve got to work out a way to get them to survive while being independent from human interaction. That’s where you come in.

The Giant Panda Protection and Research Center, in China’s Sichuan, has a fairly novel idea to wean pandas from the warm embrace of human cuddles; they want to dress people up in panda costumes and play with the pandas, and more importantly, they’re paying.

Yes, that’s right; you could become a panda caretaker, meaning your days would be filled with nothing but playing with pandas for hours a day. Even better, you’d earn around 200,000 yuan ($30,000) a year, and you’d even get kitted out with an SUV, as well as free accommodation. What’s not to like?

To the human eye, the overly large head and hollow, soulless eyes look unconvincing (perhaps even terrifying), but the pandas haven’t cottoned on as yet. As you can imagine, there are plenty of people who are enamoured with the idea, and some have even put in their own auditions for the role of professional panda, making a ton of jokes along the way.

Here’s how that panda cuddling job looks in practice. Pretty neat, right?

If you’re interested (which you definitely should be), you’ll need to be over the age of 22, have decent writing and photography skills, as well as a well of knowledge about everyone’s favourite black and white mammal (sorry, zebras). Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to update my resumé for no reason at all.

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