Popular panda on loan from China dies in Thai zoo

Popular panda on loan from China dies in Thai zoo
File- In this April 4, 2007. file photo, a male panda named Chuang Chuang chews bamboo leaves inside its cage at the Chiang Mai zoo in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand. Officials said Chuang Chuang collapsed Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in his enclosure at the Chiang Mai Zoo shortly after standing up following a meal of bamboo leaves. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong, File)

BANGKOK (AP) — Zoo staff in northern Thailand have donned black and white clothing and observed a minute of silence to mourn the sudden death of their popular male giant panda, who was on a long-term loan from China.

Officials said Chuang Chuang collapsed Monday in his enclosure at the Chiang Mai Zoo shortly after standing up following a meal of bamboo leaves.

Staff said Tuesday they found no sign of illness or injury on the 19-year-old panda’s body, and that he had recently passed a health checkup.

A zoo veterinarian said pandas have a life expectancy of 14-20 years.

Chuang Chuang and his female mate arrived in Chiang Mai in 2003 on a 10-year loan that was later extended for another 10 years.