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What We Know and What You Can Do about the Troubling Rise of Werepandaism

Darkness and uncertainty obscure the origin of the werepanda phenomenon. Another layer of confusion stems from the existence of certain trademarked gamer-world characters--the bi-pedal, flesh-eating, Chaucer-reciting monsters that first person shooters must defend the planet against.
Actual werepandas have been much less simple to address.
Typical reactions to werepanda attacks go like this: "I woke up, and there was this giant panda trying to get me to scratch behind her ears! And then she wanted a hug!?"
Here at the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation Werecreature Desk, werepandaism has been a special challenge. First, there are no authentic folk remedies. We can't advise people to, say, rub the doorposts with garlic and hang silver around their necks. None of that works with werepandas, who will come in for the cuddle just as ruthlessly as if you hadn't bothered.
Werepandas can be distracted by fresh, tasty bamboo, but that doesn't make them go away. Indeed, the next full moon you're likely to have half a dozen visitors on your hands.
It is particularly concerning to law enforcement that these creatures are so disarmingly cute. People forget to call 911 when they confront a werepanda; they freely pet, groom, and hug these monsters, and no good can come from such carelessness. Just because there have been no reported violent episodes to this point doesn't mean that these abominations are safe.
The shyness of werepandas, in addition to our not being called during the incidents, has made hunting down the human hosts very difficult. Only a couple of these species-unstable people have been detained and kept under observation.
We do not know how werepandaism is transmitted. This fact has medical professionals deeply concerned, because the key tool in stopping any outbreak is understanding the method of infection. There is no report of blood-drinking or sexual fluid exchange, the normal vector behaviors. Contact--the hugs and scratching--doesn't seem to do it.
Doctors tell us that their current fear is that werepandas spontaneously self-generate--that otherwise healthy and innocent citizens, even those with reliable voting records, just transform on their own.
Some of our experts are theorizing that people afflicted with werepandasim can learn, over time, to change at will, instead of adhering to the strict lunar cycle. We have not observed that behavior in a laboratory setting, but there have been many reports of werepanda activity on regular, non-full-moon evenings.
Which brings us to the very disturbing trend we've seen recently, which is small werepandas. Werewolfism and werekangarooism have never been known to develop earlier than the mid-teens. Typically the condition is an adult-onset disease. But these knee-high pandas surely suggest that the changed humans are merely children, children who are now wandering the streets at night, clinging desperately to the lower legs of total strangers.
"Where are the parents?" our Health and Human Services Secretary has rightly asked. "Who lets their children mutate into hairy vegetarian monophagic monsters? Have they done nothing to stop it?"
Again, we need the public's help and the public's vigilance. If you suspect that someone has sometimes transformed into a panda, or any non-human creature, report that suspicion to the authorities. If you notice that someone shows an increasing tendency to be cute or cuddly, keep your distance and consult with law enforcement.
Please be a part of the solution. Don't be our next statistic.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, March 21st, 2022
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