The panda, it’s an animal with a cult following, but how did we get here? How did the panda become a cultural icon around the world?

It turns out, it’s a fascinating story that started with an adventurous flapper, and a panda named Su Lin.

Image: A panda relaxing on a tree with its tongue out a tiny bit

Source: Pixabay

So, who was this woman? Her name was Ruth Harkness, and in 1936 she set off to China with a mission to be the first person to bring a panda back from China alive.

Here’s The Brain Scoop with her remarkable story, and a little history on where all this panda-monium started…

Obviously, conservation has come a long way in the past 80 years, but our love for animals like the panda plays an important role in spearheading our efforts. Would we care as much about habitat loss in China right now if the panda wasn’t such a beloved animal?

The panda reminds us of the important role education plays in environmental activism. In order to get people to care about conservation in a real way, we have to convince people that the planet, and it’s remarkable species, are worth saving!

We are entering a new era for conservation and environmental activism. Technology is allowing us to collect better data to inform our decisions, and the collaboration between artists and activists is bringing the stories that need to be told into our lives like never before.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!



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  1. “The Flapper and the Panda.” YouTube. Thebrainscoop, 15 July 2016. Web. 25 Aug. 2016. <>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yoga lover. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV