A zoo in northern Thailand said on Tuesday a pregnant giant panda in its care had suffered a miscarriage, quashing hopes of the birth of a second cub in the panda-mad country.
Chiang Mai Zoo said 12-year-old Lin Hui, one of Thailand’s two famously celibate pandas who became pregnant thanks to artificial insemination, appeared to have lost the cub after 128 days of gestation.
“I think she has not realised that she has miscarried,” Boripat Siriaroonrat, a member of the zoo’s panda project, said.
Lin Hui and her mate Chuang Chuang, who are on loan from China, produced a first cub in 2009, after artificial insemination succeeded where attempts to get them to mate using pornography and low-carb diets failed.
The female cub, named Linping, became so popular she was even given her own 24-hour live channel. She was sent to China for a year in September to mate.
Giant pandas, notorious for their low sex drive, are among the world’s most endangered animals.
Fewer than 1,600 pandas remain in the wild, mainly in China’s Sichuan province, with a further 300 in captivity around the world.