CHIANG MAI – Lin Ping, a female panda born at Chiang Mai Zoo is to be sent to Chengdu in China, as a deal on her three-year extended stay in Thailand ends in May 2013
That cute little panda that captured the hearts of Thais throughout the country when it was born in the Chiang Mai Zoo in 2009 is no longer little and not quite so cute now.
Lin Ping’s birth was a huge event in Thailand, receiving heavy media coverage. A postcard naming contest was organised and more than 20 million votes were received with “Lin Ping” an easy winner.
In Chinese, Lin Ping means ‘‘forest of ice’’. In Thai, the name means Ping River, the river which runs through Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai Zoo will organize the farewell party for Lin Ping in May, about a week before her expected departure. Thai Airways International is working on the transportation arrangements for Lin Ping, who has become a household name.
Many people have watched the young panda grow. A cable television channel showed live pictures of her daily for about three years after her birth.
Permanent Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Chote Trachu told journalists on Thursday that Lin Ping, now three years and 11 months old, needs to be back to China for mating, as reasoned by the Chinese authorities.
People will be saddened when the Chinese reclaim the young panda. Thanin Suphasaen, Chiang Mai governor, said the Thai team had tried but was unable to negotiate an extension of the loan that has kept Lin Ping in Chiang Mai since birth.
Chote said, however, that China will likely agree to Thailand’s request that Lin Ping’s offspring be sent to live with its grandparents, Xuang Xuang and Lin Hui, at Chiang Mai Zoo.
According to the senior official, two Thai caretakers will accompany Lin Ping during her journey and stay in China.
Lin Ping is the first-ever panda born in Thailand from a panda couple, also lent by China, Xuang Xuang and Lin Hui, whose stay at the Chiang Mai Zoo has also been extended