There has been cause for celebration at Chiang Mai zoo after a giant panda named Lin Hui gave birth to her first cub on Wednesday. The news means that Thailand joins the USA and Japan as the only countries in the world to breed a panda in captivity outside of China.
The star attractions at Chiang Mai zoo are the two giant pandas donated by China to Thailand in 1999. Previous attempts to mate the couple were unsuccessful, but did lead to some unique ways to get the pandas interested in sex. The male panda, Xuang Xuang, was put on a diet in a an effort to raise his libido and the couple were also shown what the newspapers called ‘panda porn’ with video clips of pandas mating. None of this worked, but in February this year Lin Hui was artificially inseminated with sperm from Xuang Xuang. However, zoo keepers and officials were unaware that the insemination had been successful until the surprise arrival of the new cub on Wednesday.
Chinese panda experts have flown to Thailand to examine Lin Hui and her female cub and say both are doing well. With the first few weeks being critical for mother and cub, it is believed it could be a month before the general public are allowed to see the new arrival.