RICHMOND, Va. — In the wake of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, the Metro Richmond Zoo has reported significant attendance this week, with nearly all patrons showing up for what they assume will be a plethora of rare panda bear exhibits.
Jessica Cohen, a spokesperson for the zoo, said the miscommunication regarding the meaning of the word “pandemic” has led to near-record attendance levels, with many patrons wondering where the epic panda exhibits are.
“Everyone has been showing up asking about pandas,” Cohen explained, adding that people have showed up to the zoo asking if they’d be able to not just see, but feed, the pandas. “The parking lot was full when we opened this morning, and when we told people that we don’t actually have panda bears at the zoo, they all blamed Fox News and CNN for advising them of a surplus in pandas around the world, despite the fact that they are an endangered species.”
“We reminded guests,” she continued, “that we had a bunch of other bear exhibits, such as the Asiatic black bear, but that didn’t seem to interest anyone. They all just wanted to film videos of a panda rolling around on eucalyptus leaves with their iPhones.”
Chesterfield resident Ashlee Lopez was among those who showed up to the zoo, only to be disappointed to find that there were no pandas waiting for her and her family.
“We initially weren’t going to go out for anything, unless it was absolutely necessary. But when we heard that there were dozens and dozens of pandas at the zoo, we just couldn’t resist. Our 5-year-old, Brad, loves pandas, and has a birthday coming up. We knew this would just make his day.”
Herald Schneider of Colonial Heights said he showed up not out of sheer love for pandas, but for what he believed was for his own safety.
“The news said people were getting sick and to take precautions, which we interpreted to mean that we should visit the zoo to see some pandas. We weren’t quite sure what the connection was between pandas and diseases, but I’m no doctor so I just went with it.”
Cohen expects the crowd to continue to grow as the pandemic stays in the news. “It also probably didn’t help that this pandemic originated in China,” she added, “which conveniently happens to be the only place they exist in the wild.”