Thailand faces 15 million baht fine for Chuang Chuang panda death

CityNews – Chiang Mai Zoo came under heavy fire by the Chinese social media public over the late September death of Chuang Chuang, the panda on loan to the zoo. Accusations of mal-treatment and -care abounded and an investigation was made into the cause of death.

Chiang Mai Zoo is under the management of director Wutthichai MuangMan, who on October 8th sent a letter informing the public of the cause of death of Chuang Chuang to the Line group Lin Hui panda of the zoo and to the media.  At the same time, relevant Chinese authorities have also forwarded the announcement to Chinese media.

In the announcement, it was confirmed by joint Thai-Chinese authorities that the cause of death was heart failure.

However, as per MOU, Thailand is still liable to pay compensation for Chuang Chuang’s death which is estimated to be around 500,000 US dollars. Chiang Mai Zoo still has Lin Hui, the female panda, under its care.

Chuang Chuang, who has been on loan from China since 2003, died of natural causes and is found by the authopsy experts to have been enjoying good nutrition in his last days. As part of a celebrity panda couple, with his mate Lin Hui, to whom he ‘married’ in 2005 to much fanfare and produced a panda cub, Lin Ping, Chuang Chuang has been adored by the Thai public and become the main attraction to the zoo. While zoo authorities were trying to breed Lin Hui in 2007, Chuang Chuang was famously put on a diet. A 24 hour live channel was broadcast with multiple CCTVs in the panda habitat at the time which became a national sensation, until people realised that pandas really didn’t do much on any given day. At one time the zoo authorities placed a TV screen in the habitat featuring documentaries of pandas copulating in hopes of encouraging the slovenly and undersexed pandas to breed. This was dubbed ‘Panda Porn’ and made world-wide news headline.

For unrelated reasons, the Director of Zoological Park Organisation Benjaphol Nakprasert, is set to resign, effective as of 14th Oct. 2019.