11 July 2024

China has not closed the door on negotiations with Thailand for a new Giant panda to replace Lin Hui, the star attraction at Chiang Mai Zoo for two decades, which died there on April 19th at the age of 21.

Atthaporn Srihayrun, director of the Zoological Parks Organisation, said that the autopsy report on Lin Hui, by the Giant Panda Research and Conservation Centre in China’s Sichuan province, stated that Thailand had taken very good care of Lin Hui, above the required standard, during the past two decades at Chiang Mai zoo and the good relationship between Thailand and China remains intact.

An autopsy by the Thai Forest Department and the Giant Panda Research and Conservation Centre has confirmed that Lin Hui died of old age, adding that the report has cleared up all doubts about the cause of the panda’s demise.

He said that the statement can be interpreted as China not shutting the door on Thailand to negotiate for another panda from China adding, however, that this has to be done at the government level.

Despite the autopsy findings, Atthaporn said that Thailand is still obliged to pay the 15 million baht compensation for the death of Lin Hui.

Lin Hui was sent to Chiang Mai zoo on October 12th, 2003 as a goodwill ambassador between China and Thailand.

Atthaporn said that an animal, which is as rare and as valuable as a panda, will be placed in Lin Hui’s enclosure at Chiang Mai Zoo. He admitted, however, that after the death of Lin Hui and the PM2.5 dust problem, fewer tourists are visiting the zoo.