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LEXICON

 

 

panda

Large, bear-like, black and white mammals native to China and Tibet. Their natural habitat is high-up in the mountains of the Himalayas and they feed exclusively on bamboo. Thailand possesses two pandas, that were donated by China as friendship ambassadors, and which are kept in the specially built Panda House (map) at Chiang Mai Zoo (map - fig.). The Chiang Mai pandas are named Chuang-Chuang and Lin-Hui, and in May 2009 Lin-Hui at the age of seven, surprised Thai zoo officials when she on 27 May gave birth to a healthy female panda cub, putting Thailand on the map as one of the few countries in the world that has bred a panda in captivity outside of China. The cub was named Lin Bing (林冰) or Lin Ping, which is Chinese for ‘Ice Forest’ and consist of a sound loan for the name of the mother panda on the one hand, and the city's Ping River on the other. After the birth of the baby panda, stuffed pandas and panda accessories (fig.) became a very popular and sought after item throughout the kingdom, so much so that it was in fact reported in the press, that two guys on a motorbike raided a fuel station, demanding at gunpoint only a cuddly toy panda from the store− their only take! Another consequence of the birth of the panda cub was the launch of Panda Channel, i.e. Lin Ping reality TV (fig.), which broadcasts the young panda live around the clock, 24-7. Of course, due to their cute looks, pandas have long been popular around the world. In China, their native country (fig.), one or more pandas are depicted on the popular silver (fig.) and gold Panda Coins (fig.) issued annually (fig.) by the People's Bank of China (fig.) since 1982 up to present (fig.). Also called Giant Panda, in Thai known as mih paendah, and in Chinese referred to as xióng māo (熊猫), which literally means ‘bear-cat’. See POSTAGE STAMPS, TRAVEL PICTURE, and SLIDESHOW PHOTO.