Last year there was good news surrounding the slow recovery of the kakapo, a fat, green, musty-smelling bird native to New Zealand. Giant pandas are lots of things that kakapo are not. Large, well known, and cute looking, these mammals live in the mountains of China, where they have to compete for resources with the ever expanding pace of Chinese industrialization.It links to this additional article called "Darwinian aesthetics" - The Science Of Cute. Interestingly, the commentors make reference to Manatees and Gorillas.
I would just like to say that I don't find babies or manatees cute, but I guess a lot of people do.
Gorilla baby's are cute because dominating males will want to kill baby's that they think are not their own. Hence cuteness is a defense mechanism in nature.