Lin Hui, last panda on loan from China in Thailand, dies at 21
Bangkok, Apr 19 (EFE).- Lin Hui, the last specimen of a panda donated by China that remained in Thailand, died Wednesday at the Chiang Mai Zoo, in the north of the country, without knowing yet the causes. She was 21.
On its Facebook page, zoo authorities said Lui Hui, a female panda, began to feel unwell Tuesday and died Wednesday morning, after which a group of Thai and Chinese experts were going to carry out an autopsy to determine the reasons for the death.
On Tuesday, netizens uploaded videos to social media showing the panda getting a nosebleed amid severe air pollution in the north due largely to fires set by farmers.
In 2019, the bear’s companion, Chuang Chuang, also died suddenly at 19 in Chiang Mai due to cardiac arrest, causing a stir on Thai and Chinese social media.
Both giant pandas were born at the Chengdu Panda Research Center in Sichuan Province of China; Lin Hui on Sep. 28, 2001 and Chuang Chuang on Aug. 6, 2000.
The pandas were given to Thailand in October 2003 as part of the so-called “panda diplomacy” with which China has sought since the 1960s to project a kinder image and strengthen ties with other countries by temporarily handing over the animals.
The two pandas had a cub in 2009 through artificial insemination, a bear named Ling Ping, and for several years the family appeared on a 24-hour television show.
Ling Ping was sent to China in 2013, and under the agreement, Thailand was to return Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui in 2013, but the deal was renewed for a 10-year period until 2023.
The average giant panda lifespan is about 15-20 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity. EFE