Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is weighing whether to send giant panda, Lin Hui, back to China following the death of her mate at Chiang Mai Zoo last month.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa, said a decision has yet to be made. However if she is sent back, it is unlikely China will send a replacement.
“Many people have suggested sending her back as giant pandas are social creatures. Proposals to have another giant panda sent over here could prove difficult,” he told the Bangkok Post.
Lin Hui’s 19 year-old mate, Chuang Chuang, was found dead in his enclosure on Sept 16. An autopsy led experts to conclude the male panda died as a result of heart problems.
Both Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui arrived in Chiang Mai arrived in Thailand in October 2003.
Both were on loan until 2023 and were being housed in a 6,250-square-metre air-conditioned enclosure at Chiang Mai Zoo.
China lent the two giant pandas under a cooperation agreement. Thailand was to help research the life and breeding habits of the animals. The deal reportedly stipulated that Thailand would have to pay China US$500,000 in compensation per giant panda if either should die.