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Healthy panda born in Thailand

A HEALTHY panda cub was born in a Thai zoo yesterday, the first in the country after years of failed attempts that included using mating videos to entice the bears to have sex.

Staff were unaware that Lin Hui, a 7-year-old female, was pregnant, Chiang Mai Zoo's director Thananpat Pongamorn said. Zoo staff artificially inseminated the giant panda on February 18 but had seen no signs she was pregnant.

"She's been anxious since yesterday. She did not want to get close to caretakers or any other people, but we didn't know what the problem was," Thananpat said.

Lin Hui started licking her backside and exhibiting pain in her stomach early in the morning and then gave birth to the cub, which appeared healthy and immediately began screeching loudly.

Breeding pandas is common in China where dozens are born by artificial insemination each year. But it is rare outside of China, with Thailand becoming only the third country after the United States and Japan, said Thananpat.


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