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HomeScienceSudden Death of Chinese Panda Loaned to Thailand for Long-Term Stay

Sudden Death of Chinese Panda Loaned to Thailand for Long-Term Stay


Xuang Xuang, a male panda, left, plays on the floor, while female panda Lin Hui, right, eats a cake made of bamboo and carrots to celebrate her fourth birthday at Chiang Mai Zoo in Chiang Mai Province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, on September 28. 2005. Lin Hui, a giant panda, died Wednesday, April 19, 2023, six months before she was due to return home, Chiang Mai Zoo officials said. Credit: AP Photo/Wichai Traprew, File

A long-term loaned giant panda from China died at a zoo in northern Thailand on Wednesday, six months before it was due to be returned home, officials from Chiang Mai Zoo said.

Wutthichai Muangmun, director of the zoo, said the cause of Lin Hui’s death was not immediately clear, but she appeared ill on Tuesday morning, and her nose was seen to bleed when she lay down after a meal.

He said she was transferred to the care of a joint Thai-Chinese veterinary team, but her condition deteriorated and she died early Wednesday morning.

Tewart Wegmanat, a veterinarian who spoke at a news conference that was broadcast live on the zoo’s Facebook page, said the panda, which had a medical check-up every day, was already at the advanced age of 21, and there was no sign of it. illness or any disease. A difference in her behavior before she got sick.

“China mourns the death of the giant panda Lin Hui,” said Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing.

Wang said that after China learned of the panda’s disease, it “immediately organized experts to guide the Thai side to carry out rescue work through the video link, but unfortunately it did not save its life.” He added that the Chinese authorities will soon set up a team of experts to conduct a joint investigation into the cause of death.

Lin Hui’s companion, Chuang Chuang, who was kept with her at the Chiang Mai Zoo, died there in 2019 at the age of 19. years.

While the loan was ostensibly for research and conservation purposes, it was generally considered an act of friendship by China, which has sent pandas to several countries in what is considered an extreme example of soft power diplomacy.

A Chinese panda that was on a long-term loan to Thailand suddenly dies

Lin Hui, a female panda on loan from China for 10 years, is seen eating bamboo at the Chiang Mai Zoo in Chiang Mai Province, northern Thailand, on September 23, 2005. Lin Hui, a giant panda, died on Wednesday, April 19 in the year 2023 Six months before she is due to return home, officials from the Chiang Mai Zoo said. Credit: AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong, File

When Chuang Chuang died in 2019, then Thai Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said the country should pay the Chinese government $500,000 in compensation. It was later reported that the cause of his death was heart failure.

Zoo director Wutthichai said the zoo had an insurance policy of 15 million baht ($435,000) on Lin Hui, who was due to be returned to China in October.

Lin Hui and Chuang Chuang had a daughter, Lin Bing, in 2009 through artificial insemination. A scheme to encourage them to mate naturally by showing videos of pandas having sex made headlines in 2007. Lin Bing was sent to China in 2013 on what was initially said to be a one-year visit to find a mate, but has remained there.

The average life expectancy of a giant panda in the wild is about 15 years, but in captivity they have lived to an age of 38. Decades of conservation efforts in the wild and study in captivity have saved giant panda species from extinction, increasing their population from less than 1,000 times to more than 1,800 in the wild and in captivity.

A Chinese influencer living in Thailand, who identified herself as Shanshan, visited the zoo on Tuesday morning and posted several videos of Lin Hui on Chinese social media platform Douyin. One showed her nose, which appeared to be bloodied, and a red spot was seen on her neck. In another clip, she was lying licking her nose, and there were traces of red spots on a concrete slab under her head. Screenshots from the videos were widely shared by Thai social media users.

She captioned one of the clips, “That’s when we just arrived, she was lying on her side. Then I saw her nose bleed.” “She looked nauseous. We weren’t sure.”

Screenshots from the videos were widely shared by Thai social media users.

Wutthichai said the cause of Lin Hui’s death will take time before it is determined, and how and when that is revealed will be up to China. Under an agreement between the zoo and the Chinese government’s panda conservation project, an autopsy cannot be performed until a Chinese expert is present.

Some Thai netizens have speculated that air pollution in northern Thailand, which in recent weeks has risen to levels deemed dangerous to human health, contributed to Lin Hui’s death. However, zoo staff said this was unlikely, as Lin Hui lived indoors in an area of ​​the zoo that was seen to have the “cleanest air”.

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