In the end, it was a bad ticker that killed Chuang Chuang, the 19-year-old panda on loan from China that died last month at the Chiang Mai Zoo.
The zoo announced yesterday the results of an autopsy conducted by Chinese and Thai experts that found Chuang Chuang died of a heart attack.
“The cause of death was heart failure, which resulted in a lack of oxygen in his internal organs, leading to his death,” said the statement, adding that the bear was well-nourished and had no external wounds or foreign objects in his windpipe.
The statement also said Thailand would compensate China an undisclosed sum for Chuang Chuang’s death under the terms of the loan agreement signed by both countries as part of China’s so-called “panda diplomacy.” Multiple local media, however, are reporting that the compensation is as high as THB15 million baht (US$500,000).
The statement also confirmed that Thailand will continue caring for the remaining panda, Lin Hui. It did not say if she would be returned before when she is supposed to be in 2023.
Chuang Chuang was born Aug. 6, 2000, at the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas in China’s Sichuan province. He arrived at the Chiang Mai Zoo in 2003 along with Lin Hui, also from the same research center, to begin a 10-year conservation program to breed giant pandas.
Chuang Chuang was never much interested in sex, even when encouraged with panda porn videos. Artificial insemination led to the panda couple (and Thailand’s) first baby in 2009: a little girl named Lin Ping. Her birth spawned a panda craze and 24-hour coverage on what was known as the Panda Channel.