Panda on Loan from China to Thailand's Chiang Mai Zoo Dies Unexpectedly
Chang Chang (also known as Xuang Xuang), a 19-year-old giant panda on loan from China to Thailand’s Chiang Mai zoo suddenly died on Monday at the Thai Zoo, reports the Bangkok Post.
According to the outlet, the zoo’s chief Wutthichai Muangmun said in a press conference that CCTV footage of the panda exhibit shows Chang Chang eating bamboo, walking around his exhibit and then collapsing.
Chang Chang born in 2000 at a panda research facility in the Chengdu province of China, and was moved to the zoo in 2003 as a loaned gift from China to show the close bond between China and Thailand.
The Bangkok Post reported that Chang Chang received monthly medical exams, and was in good health based on his last visit to the vet. According to the World Wildlife Fund, a panda’s average lifespan is 14-20 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity.
The cause of Chang Chang’s unexpected death is currently being investigated, and a necropsy will be performed by zoo officials and Chinese panda experts at the Thai zoo. Reuters reports that experts started preparing for the necropsy on Thursday and expect the examination to be complete in a few days.
While the world waits on the official answers from the experts at the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda on what caused Chang Chang’s death, some on the Internet are already making their own assumptions, according to The Guardian, calling out the quality of the Thai zoo’s facilities and supplies, and asking for China to stop lending pandas to Thailand.