Pandamanium

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Theme parks long have been a U.S.-dominated segment of the travel industry. But unlooked-for competition is cropping up from an unexpected place: China has announced plans for a $70 million theme park showcasing the beloved giant panda.

The park, which will be located in the Sichuan province of southwestern China, will be built at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base, the world's premier panda-nookie facility.

The practicality behind this decision seems almost an homage to American entrepreneurism. I mean, if Walt Disney had thought to build Disneyland at the site of an oversized-rodent breeding camp, thousands of sweaty teenagers stuck in giant mouse suits would instead be working at the DQ, where its nice and cool and the pay is better.

The only foreseeable pitfall is the endangered species' frustrating reticence when it comes to breeding in captivity. When you add hordes of gawking visitors to the mix, well, can giant panda suits be far behind?

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