Joint custody in the zoölogical world is quite the sticky wicket, particularly when dealing with the added intricacies of visitor/temporary resident/immigrant statuses, plus touchy international treaties besides. Just so, as the specially-appointed Parent Coördinator for his (largely oblivious and wholly unrequited) panda paramour and her prearranged (and presently estranged) baby-daddy, Bear Lawyer must venture through all manner of uncharted legal waters in his attempts to serve the best interests of the cub. E.g., is a native-born panda a U.S. citizen (and subject to/protected by U.S. family laws) even if s/he remains the sole property of the People’s Republic of China and a de facto member of the PRC’s Panda Diplomatic Corps? Are bear cubs, regardless of genus, protected by the UNCRC even if their country of residence has yet to to ratify said treaty? Moreover, if the breeding parents of the cub in question reside in separate enclosures—or in separate zoos, or in different states or countries—is custodial preference given to the mother or the father?
Truly, it’s a tricky business from a legal standpoint alone—not to mention the unsettling moral quandaries posed by a nation’s “ownership” of its entire giant panda population, as well as its attendant arranged/forced mating/eugenics program(s) to “protect” said population from extinction.