After Lin Hui, the 7-year-old female panda, had undergone artificial insemination, She surprisingly gave birth on Wednesday without prior confirmation she was pregnant. The new mother, protective of her newborn, has been left undisturbed for the time being with the cub, weighting in at 200-grammes and sporting a loud cry.
Chiang Mai zoo director, Thanapath Pongpamorn, said mother and baby were doing well. The zoo would hold a public competition to name the panda baby.
Specialists from China, meanwhile, arrived at Chiang Mai zoo on Thursday afternoon, to assist Thai officials in raising the cub and conducting a health check-up.
The zoo director said the Chinese experts had advised round-the-clock care for the pair, which would also be kept away from for at least a month to avoid excessive noise while the cub was developing.
Thailand borrowed female panda Lin Hui and her male companion Chuang Chuang from China six years ago as ambassadors of friendship between the two countries. The pandas have ever since been on exhibition at Chiang Mai Zoo.
Artificial insemination was conducted for the panda couple on February 18. (TNA)
On Wednesday morning, Lin Hui, the female panda in the zoo delivered her first baby, which has become the first panda born in Thailand.
The zoo will arrange congratulation posters for the newly-born panda, while Thais will be invited to send congratulation cards to the panda family at the zoo, said Thanapath.
Lin Hui and her baby are healthy and Lin Hui has taken care of her first baby very well, said Prasertsak Boontragoolpoontawee, head of the zoo’s panda section, adding that Lin Hui had her baby in her arm for the whole Wednesday night.
At least the first three months, the zoo’s visitors will see the newly-born panda through closed circuit television since during these first three months the baby panda will be in an incubator to ensure its physical strength, said Thanapath.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Zoological Park Organization Director Sophon Damnui said that it is possible Thailand will negotiate with China to extend a period of maintaining the newly-born panda for more than two years.
According to a loan contract between the government of China and Thailand, the newly-born panda can live its life in Thailand for only two years.
Lin Hui and male panda Xuang Xuang have been on loan from China to the Chiang Mai Zoo since 2003, as part of a panda research program. The loan agreement will see the two pandas returned to China after 10 years.
“Thailand will inform China that Thais love the pandas and would like to see the baby to be with its parents for more than two years in Thailand,” said Sophon.
On Feb. 18, 2009, Lin Hui was impregnated with artificial insemination after all efforts to arouse male Xuang Xuang’s interest in mating had failed.
However, it has remained possible that Lin Hui will deliver one or two more babies, based on her behaviors, according to these senior officials.
“With in the next 50 hours, the Zoo’s vet team will closely monitor Lin Hui for possible delivery of more babies,” said Prasertsak.