January 07, 2014 00:00 By Prapaporn Kreungew
CHIANG MAI ZOO yesterday put giant panda Lin Hui on two days of close surveillance as she is expected to give birth to a new cub this week.
Head veterinarian Boripat Siriaroonrat told a press conference that Lin Hui’s appetite remained normal on Sunday but there were signs to show she was about to give birth, such as lactating breasts and a drop in hormone progesterone (to 192 nanograms per creatinine).
With Lin Hui ready to give birth, the zoo has prepared a delivery room, equipped with a bamboo nestle that Lin Hui made, to make the panda feel safe and familiar, plus a cub-care room, he said.
Plan for alternate mothering
Boripat said the zoo also had a “plan B” in case Lin Hui was unable to tend to the cub – so it has prepared an incubator, some cleaning tools and reserved milk, as well as caretaker officials.
Zoological Park Organisation committee member Thanarat Wadeesirisak said the ZPO would adjust the panda exhibition enclosure to be larger to support the additional pandas like in Singapore.
The zoo is still waiting for a reply to their invitation for China-based Panda Research Centre officials to observe the birth.
Those interested to watch Lin Hui online “real-time” can go to www.cm-leadernews.com.
In related news, thousands of fans flocked to Taiwan’s Taipei Zoo as six-month-old Yuan Zai, the first panda cub born in Taiwan, made her public debut yesterday. Yuan Zai’s mother Yuan Yuan gave birth to her cub on July 6 following artificial insemination sessions. Yuan Zai weighed 180 grams at birth and is about 14 kilograms.
Yuan Zai’s parents, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, were given to Taiwan by China in December 2008 and have become star attractions at Taipei Zoo, as well as a symbol of warming ties between the two countries.
There are less than 1,600 pandas in the wild, mostly in China’s Sichuan province, while another 300 pandas are kept in enclosures worldwide.