GLAND, SWITZERLAND—During a press conference outside their Swiss headquarters Thursday, World Wildlife Fund officials backpedaled from a controversial press statement released by the organization last week, claiming that while panda ears are in fact "absolutely delicious," the environmental protection group shouldn't have said so.
Various spokespersons for the WWF, widely acclaimed for its 50 years of international conservation work, told reporters the organization deeply regretted the statement—along with the subsequent tweet, Facebook post, and e-mail to supporters—in which they wrote, "The ears of an endangered giant panda taste phenomenal."
A new message was reportedly sent Thursday urging donors and subscribers to "ignore that last e-mail about how good panda ears taste, even though they are good and we're eating them right now, and we wish we wouldn't have written that or sent this without deleting that last part."
"We are truly sorry for publicly saying that panda ears are delicious and that they are a healthy, tasty snack," said WWF board chairman Paul Kinnaird, also apologizing for the extensive list of panda-ear recipes that were posted on the organization's website before being deleted, reposted with an apology, deleted, reposted, and then deleted again. "The fact of the matter is, panda ears are not delicious. Well, they are delicious, but we should really stop saying that."
"Whoops," Kinnaird added after a brief pause. "Obviously, this isn't quite how this was supposed to go."
The nearly three-hour-long press conference included numerous officials attempting to clarify one another's statements and make known the organization's belief that no one should ever eat any part of a panda "even if their ears do taste amazing braised, fried, steamed, or seared, and even if we did eat some last night for dinner and then put some leftover panda ears in an omelet for breakfast this morning."
According to sources, WWF officials then apologized for saying that too.
"What we're trying to say is that no one should eat any part of any endangered species, even if it is just an animal, because, ultimately, who really cares about animals, anyway?" said associate director of public relations Jessica Musgrove, who quickly added that she does care about animals, just not the ones that taste great, after which she reportedly mumbled "damn it" under her breath. "Cheetah shins are also delicious. Of course, this is also something I shouldn't have said in my official capacity, so please just forget I said anything about cheetah shins. But as long as we're on the topic, my God, cheetah shins paired with giraffe neck in a balsamic reduction? You absolutely have to try it."
"Don't do what I just said to do, though," Musgrove added. "We really do care about the environment."
Asked by reporters what measures the group planned on taking to rectify its recent missteps, vice president Charles Mackey said the organization's employees would stop munching on the fried panda ears that are constantly refilled in a jar marked "Fried Panda Ears: Take as many as you'd like" in the WWF office kitchen. In addition, he said the organization would immediately stop illegally funneling the substantial charitable donations its receives to hunting groups, animal testing labs, and underground dogfighting rings.
Mackey then wrote, ripped up, taped together, and presented a $300,000 check to the head of an illegal dogfighting ring, all while apologizing for doing so.
"We are committed to our mission of protecting animals and ending all threats to endangered species," Mackey said. "With that being said, we do go hunting from time to time as a group, but that's on our private time and probably something I shouldn't have said out loud. Also, it's more like poaching, really, since we only hunt for ivory and I shouldn't have said that in a press conference either. I also shouldn't say that we once pushed a seal out of a moving car but here goes: We did push some seals out of moving cars and it was enjoyable every time. You just wouldn't believe the sounds that come out of their little mouths when they hit the pavement and, my God, the way they roll! Fantastic. I didn't need to inform you of that last detail or any of that at all, actually, but I suppose it's too late now. Anyway, I still don't think I enjoyed that as much as pulling all the teeth out of an iguana's mouth, which is something I'm not going to describe further. That would definitely be a mistake. We could probably expand a little more on the World Wildlife Fund's affinity for chopping off lion heads with guillotines, but on second thought I'm not going to talk about how great and fun that is. Yeah, I'd say this organization has taken part in a fair share of animal abuse and, again, all of it was completely wrong and something we intend to stop immediately. We love nature and all animals even though our research team once injected a penguin with HIV and reintroduced him to a wild population, but to be fair, we only did that because it was funny. Obviously, it was in no way funny, but I did laugh a lot. I didn't want to laugh but I did laugh and that was another one of those things I shouldn't have told you guys. So, just to reiterate, we are truly committed to protecting each and every one of nature's fine creatures."
Added Mackey, "We gave a penguin AIDS."