It's a girl: Thai zoo says panda cub is doing well

May 28, 2009
A handout photo released by Chiang Mai zoo on May 27, 2009 shows a new born panda. The one-day-old cub born after years of artificial insemination and efforts to get its celibate parents to mate is a healthy female with a loud cry, a zoo official said Thursday.

A one-day-old panda cub born in Thailand after years of artificial insemination and efforts to get its celibate parents to mate is a healthy female with a loud cry, a zoo official said Thursday.

Giant panda Lin Hui surprised workers at Chiang Mai by giving birth to the as-yet-unnamed 200-gram (eight-ounce) cub on Wednesday and director Thanapath Pongpamorn said mother and baby were doing well.

"An expert said after examining them that the cub is a healthy female with a loud crying voice. Lin Hui is taking care of her cub well, she licks and feeds her cub," Thanapath told AFP.

The expert had advised round-the-clock care for the pair, he said, and visitors had been banned for at least a month in order to avoid excessive noise while the cub is developing.

The zoo will hold a public competition to name her, Thanapath said.

Eight-year-old Lin Hui gave birth to the cub just three months after receiving semen from nine-year-old partner Chuang Chuang.

The panda pair had shown no interest in reproducing the traditional way since they both arrived on a 10-year loan from China in 2003. The cub will officially belong to China but will stay with Thailand on a two-year loan.

In 2006, Chuang Chuang, who had been deemed too heavy to mate with Lin Hui, lost seven kilograms (15 pounds) on a low-carbohydrate diet, and was then shown 15-minute video clips of successful panda couplings, but to no avail.

Lin Hui was first artificially inseminated in April 2007 but failed to become pregnant. The zoo tried a different approach in January, when a cold snap in the northern city prompted an unusually frisky response from Lin Hui.

Authorities took the pair out of their climate-controlled environment in the hope of provoking a steamy response during the pandas' mating season, but again without any luck.

Giant pandas, notorious for their low sex drive, are among the planet's most endangered animals. Nearly 1,600 pandas are believed to survive in the wild in China and about 180 are being raised in captivity in zoos worldwide.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: U.S. and China study giant pandas

Related Stories

U.S. and China study giant pandas

November 27, 2005

A team of Chinese and U.S. zoologists Sunday began a joint study of wild giant pandas in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

To catch a panda

December 10, 2007

Michigan State University’s panda habitat research team has spent years collecting mountains of data aimed at understanding and saving giant pandas. Now a graduate student is working to catch crucial data that’s black, ...

Pandas mate with help at the National Zoo

March 24, 2008

U.S. veterinarians have artificially inseminated Mei Xiang, a female giant panda at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, after natural mating was unsuccessful.

Clouded leopard cubs born at National Zoo

March 25, 2009

An endangered clouded leopard at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Conservation & Research Center (CRC) in Front Royal, Va., gave birth to a genetically valuable litter of two cubs on Tuesday, March 24. The clouded leopard, ...

Recommended for you

New gene map reveals cancer's Achilles heel

November 25, 2015

Scientists have mapped out the genes that keep our cells alive, creating a long-awaited foothold for understanding how our genome works and which genes are crucial in disease like cancer.

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...

How cells in the developing ear 'practice' hearing

November 25, 2015

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular ...

How cells 'climb' to build fruit fly tracheas

November 25, 2015

Fruit fly windpipes are much more like human blood vessels than the entryway to human lungs. To create that intricate network, fly embryonic cells must sprout "fingers" and crawl into place. Now researchers at The Johns Hopkins ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.