Thailand has had panda fever ever since the birth of Lin Ping at Chiang Mai Zoo in May 2009. They even have a 24 hour reality show so that people can watch from home. This is a picture that I took of Lin Ping when I visited Chiang Mai Zoo a couple of months ago. The queues to see the pandas used to be very long. Fortunately when we went we were able to go straight in. The temperature inside was a comfortable 15 Celsius.
The area where the mother and daughter pandas stay is quite large. Maybe too big and dark if you want to take a picture. You are not allowed to take a picture with flash for obvious reasons. This is a picture of Lin Hui, on the left, and Lin Ping who is now one and a half years old. She will be two years old in May 2011. She is more active than her mother and was climbing up and down a lot.
The father panda, Chuang Chuang, is kept in a separate area. Here it is lighter and you can also get closer to observe his habits. When we first entered his enclosure, Chuang Chuang was sitting up on a chair as if he was a King on his throne. He then came down closer to observe us. The whole time he didn’t stop eating. A couple of weeks after our visit, Lin Ping was moved out here with her father for the first time.
Under the agreement with China, any panda cub born abroad must be returned to China within two years. On Monday, a delegation from China arrived to check up on the panda. She only has about five months left in Thailand. However, Thai authorities have made an official request for Lin Ping to stay longer. They want China to send a male panda here for Lin Ping to mate with. In the meantime, there might be a chance for Lin Ping to have a sibling as Lin Hui usually ovulates around January and February.
Entrance to Chiang Mai Zoo is 520/390 baht (290/190 baht for Thai people). For the panda enclosure you have to pay another 100 baht (50 baht for Thai people). The snow dome is also extra at 150/100 baht for both foreigner and Thai.