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Giant panda in Thailand pregnant, says zoo

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A zoo in northern Thailand said 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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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131229/giant-panda-thailand-pregnant-says-zoo