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The Panda (also known as the Giant Panda) is a large mammal known for its distinctive black patches of fur over their eyes, ears and center body. Native to south central China, pandas are considered an endangered species with only approximately 1,600 pandas living in the wild as of 2004.
Some of the earliest discussion of pandas online dates back to February 1996, when a member of the Usenet group alt.animals.bears asked where he could learn about pandas online. That April, a discussion about academic research on the animals was started in the can.schoolnet.biomed.sr group and in October, a Usenet group specifically dedicated to them, alt.animals.pandas, was approved. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a number of pages dedicated to panda appreciation were created on free web hosting services including Angelfire, HTML Planet and Tripod as well as on personal domains like Lighting Magic.
In April 2001, The Daily Beast reported that tourism to China to see the animals in the wild had caused the deterioration of their home in the Wolong forest. In 2005, both the San Diego Zoo and the National Zoo in Washington D.C. launched live streaming web cams of their panda habitats, allowing internet users to tune in from around the globe to monitor the animals. That August, the National Zoo's stream was featured on NPR. The same year, the panda-centric blog Pandafix.com launched, sharing photos and videos of the animals. In 2007, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding established a website to provide educational information about giant pandas along with updates on their work.
Though often overshadowed by the popularity of cats, cute images and videos of the panda continued to thrive with the emergence of social networking sites and media-sharing platforms. In October 2008, the /r/Panda subreddit launched, gaining nearly 500 readers as of August 2013. This was followed by the first Facebook fan page in February 2009, which has accrued more than 415,000 likes within the same time period. That July, the first single topic Tumblr dedicated to pandas, 熊猫 (Panda) Stuff, was created. In 2010, Eff Yeah Pandas and Panda Loves to Party both launched on Tumblr, followed by a panda GIF blog in February 2013.
Sad Panda is a slang term used to refer to someone who is feeling particularly melancholy or dejected. The phrase originated in a 1999 episode of South Park in which a man dressed up in a panda suit comes to teach a class about what constitutes sexual harassment. As early as 2003, the phrase had been used online in both comments and image macros to describe someone who is sad.
Sneezing Baby Panda
Sneezing Baby Panda is a viral video uploaded to YouTube on November 6th, 2006 that depicts a mother panda at the Wolong Panda Breeding Centre munching on bamboo while her baby cub sleeps at her feet. Out of nowhere, the baby sneezes, startling the mother for a second before she returns to her food. As of August 2013, the video was been viewed more than 162.7 million times and was named #10 on Urlesque's 100 Most Iconic Internet Videos in April 2009.
Never Say No to Panda
Never Say No to Panda is the name of an ad campaign created by Advantage Marketing and Advertising for the Arab Dairy Company and aired on Egyptian TV channels in May 2010. The ads depict an angry panda destroying the belongings of someone who has said no to having Panda brand cheese and have been reuploaded to YouTube thousands of times, gaining hundreds of thousands of views. GIFs from these commercials continue to circulate on Tumblr.
Passive Aggressive Panda
Passive Aggressive Panda is an advice animal image macro series depicting a sad-looking panda set on a green color wheel background. The captions typically describe passive aggressive behavior, highlighting situations where one must pretend to be nice out of spite or frustration. The short-lived series began on Tumblr in September 2010.
Pickup Line Panda
Pickup Line Panda is an advice animal image macro series that utilizes a picture of a panda leaning over a tree stump with a beer bottle between its paws. The captions typically begin with a predictable pickup cliche followed by a sentence that is contrasted by lack of subtlety. The first instance was posted to REddit on February 14th, 2011.