Another day, another controversy as clips circulating of South Korean girl group BLACKPINK playing with a baby panda without the proper protective gear caused Chinese netizens to protest against the breach. Dropping by the famed Everland amusement park for an episode of their reality show 24/365 with BLACKPINK, the ladies came in for a little meet and greet with the park’s baby panda Fubao who was just 100 days old. Now you might be wondering what in the world could be wrong about the ladies cuddling a super cute baby panda?
Things apparently aren’t quite so simple as full protective gear is necessary before you can cuddle the little cub. While the four ladies were shown wearing masks and gloves as precaution, the simple protective gear and the fact that they were all wearing makeup weren’t enough.
This particularly was a cause for concern because some of the members have pet dogs, and close contact apparently increases the chances of the pandas contracting a type of virus transferred from dogs which could be fatal. Aside from this, Netizens have also expressed their worry about the footage showing the ladies stroking Fubao’s mama without wearing gloves or masks.
Most, if not all pandas around the world officially belong to China and are considered only “on loan” to other countries. In Fubao’s case, while the cub was born in South Korea, he must be returned home at the end of the exchange period. Pandas on loan are also subject to stipulations strictly set for their protection. One of which allows only zookeepers to come into contact with the pandas and no one else. Netizens have urged zookeepers to be more careful and have discouraged any more close contact with ordinary people to ensure the panda’s continued health and well-being.
In light of the controversy surrounding the visit, BLACKPINK announced in a statement today that out of respect for international cooperative agreements, they have decided to pull the plug on the episode. Moreover, according to YGE, the visit was carried out under the guidance of the zookeepers and that everyone strictly complied with safety and hygiene measures. All the members they confirmed, were wearing gloves, masks and protective gear when they met Fubao, with hand and shoe disinfections performed in between.