Still unknown if panda in Thailand carrying twins

THAILAND - Chiang Mai Zoo veterinarians have still not been able to confirm whether giant panda Lin Hui is carrying twins in her womb, as the ultrasound result remains unclear.

The zoo had previously announced the good news that Lin Hui was pregnant and would give birth in mid-January.

Veterinarian Thewarat Wetchamanas said there was still a chance that Lin Hui could have twins, although the test could only detect one embryo.

The giant panda has started to prepare for the birth while its hormone level is down to 300 nanograms per milligram of creatinine, which is close to pandas' normal near-delivery level of less that 100ng/mg, he said.

The zoo conducted two artificial inseminations for Lin Hui in September. They found from an ultrasound test on December 27 that Lin Hui might be 91 days pregnant, and hence might give birth this month.

The zoo then assigned a team of veterinarians to take care of Lin Hui and prepare for the birth.

The new cub will be allowed to remain in Thailand for two years before returning to China as per agreement with that country.