Giant panda in Thailand pregnant - zoo

Bangkok - A zoo in northern Thailand said on Sunday that it was preparing for the birth of a second giant panda in the New Year thanks to artificial insemination.

Chiang Mai Zoo said 12-year-old Lin Hui, who along with her partner Chuang Chuang is on loan from China, was due to deliver a cub by January.

"She is being carefully monitored. We are quite excited," said an official at the zoo.

Thailand's famously celibate giant pandas 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 that she was even given her own 24-hour live panda 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.

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