Bear Necessities


This picture – drawn by my daughter – melted my heart and sums up my week. It captures the beguiling mix of sleepiness, size and sheer cuddliness of the Giant Panda. Like the °0° koala, there is nothing in nature cuter than the right type of bear.

I, for my part, have been much more the sore-headed variety of bear. Plenty of reasons to be grizzly at work and robbed of the hope of weekend hibernation – by the prospect of Spring camping in the cold and rain. But a sneek peek at this picture has cheered me up on at least half a dozen occasions.

The sleepy panda adorned her school campaign poster to save the benighted black and white bear. But the latest thinking says forget ‘enigmatic species’ and save ecosystems if you want conservation – bamboo forests are the thing to focus on, not the coy, inscrutable and often unsuccessful pairings of pandas in zoos.

So perhaps the tree in the picture is as important as the adorable bear hanging off it. Whatever the truth, this picture has made me – and by sharing it – a good few other people smile this week. Perhaps now a few more.

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