Thai zoo's 1st baby panda goes on display

Jul 04, 2009
A 6-week-old unnamed female panda cub is seen at the Chiang Mai zoo in the northern city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Saturday, July 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Wichai Taprieu)

(AP) -- Thousands of excited visitors flocked Saturday to a zoo in northern Thailand for the first public viewing of a baby panda, which has been featured on Thai front pages almost every day since her birth six weeks ago.

The coming-out party at the Chiang Mai included a parade led by an orangutan. Zoo officials stood beside the cub's incubator and tried to position her head so visitors streaming past could get a good look.

The baby panda is tiny enough to be held in the hands of a zoo staffer.

Thais have been captivated by the cub since her birth May 27. For six years, the zoo had tried to mate its two adult , both on loan from China. They held a mock wedding for the pair, showed the male, Chuang Chuang, "porn" videos of pandas mating, and finally turned to artificial insemination.

Newspapers have reported the baby panda's milestones and the public's reaction, including a giant cake measuring 4 feet by 5 feet (1.2 meters by 1.6 meters) donated by a Chiang Mai bakery to celebrate her one-month birthday. Some Chiang Mai hotels are offering special "meet the panda" rates for the next few months.

A public competition to name the cub drew more than a half-million entries, which have been whittled down to four finalists. The name will be chosen next month.

Thailand has joined a select list of countries that have bred the rare mammals in captivity, along with China, Japan and the U.S.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Research helps steer mites from bees

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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

May 28, 2009

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.

Pandas mate with help at the National Zoo

Mar 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.

Tai Shan, star of the global pandacams

Nov 29, 2005

For weeks he has been the hottest ticket in town. Much has been made in the media of the difficulty of procuring tickets to see Tai Shan, the baby giant panda cub and "Peaceful Mountain" of Washington D.C.'s National Zoo.

Endangered gopher frogs bred in zoo

Apr 08, 2008

Tennessee's Memphis Zoo says it has successful started the first captive breeding program for endangered Mississippi gopher frogs.

Teaching captive gorillas the ropes

Nov 13, 2006

The Columbus Zoo in Ohio uses humans as surrogate mothers to baby gorillas so the babies can learn nurturing and become caring parents themselves.

Recommended for you

Research helps steer mites from bees

Sep 19, 2014

A Simon Fraser University chemistry professor has found a way to sway mites from their damaging effects on bees that care and feed the all-important queen bee.

Bird brains more precise than humans'

Sep 19, 2014

(Phys.org) —Birds have been found to display superior judgement of their body width compared to humans, in research to help design autonomous aircraft navigation systems.

User comments : 0