animals

Giant panda Xuang Xuang, China’s gift to Thailand, dies in Chiang Mai zoo

Male giant panda Xuang Xuang died at the zoo in Chiang Mai, Thailand where it was staying at 4:30 p.m. on September 16, 2019. He was 19 years old.

Xuang Xuang was born at a panda research and development facility in Wo Long, Chengdu, China on August 6, 2000. He was given by the Chinese government to Thailand as a loaned gift as a sign of the close relations between the two countries.

From Chengdu, the giant panda moved to Chiang Mai in October 2003 with a female panda named Lin Hui. Since then, the two have been popular among Thais.

Each of the giant pandas in the Chiang Mai zoo has an insurance policy worth 15 million baht. Xuang Xuang was given a Thai name, which was Tewan, while Lin Hui was called Kham Ai.

There had been little sign Xuang Xuang was suffering health problems before his death, according to the Chiang Mai zoo officials. CCTV footage showed that he ate bamboo leaves, walked and then collapsed prior to his death.

The Chiang Mai zoo chief Wutthichai Muangmun told Bangkok Post that Xuang Xuang could have died of natural causes. The Chinese consulate-general in Chiang Mai had been informed about the giant panda’s death.

As required by a memorandum of understanding between Thai and Chinese authorities, Chinese experts should perform a post-mortem examination within 24 hours of the panda’s death. The autopsy should be completed within a week.

Xuang Xuang’s body was kept at the animal hospital of the Chiang Mai zoo. Chinese and Thai officials were discussing whether or not Lin Hui should be returned to China, according to Chiang Mai’s Chinese consul general Ren Yisheng.

“For Lin Hui, I understand that there are some concerns about her being alone and her loneliness,” Reuters quoted Ren as saying. “We have to talk about this later.”

Lin Hui gave birth to a baby panda in 2009. The baby was returned to China.

Giant pandas are generally solitary and their average life span is 14-20 years in the wild. But with proper care in captivity, they can live up to 30 years, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Here is a clip featuring Xuang Xuang in 2010:

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