Your morning adorable: Thailand's celebrity panda cub gets a name
It's official: Thailand's beloved giant panda cub has a name. The Chiang Mai Zoo, where the female cub was born in late May, held a naming contest for which it received more than 20 million votes. Members of the Thai public were given four names to choose from, and the Agence France-Presse reports that about 60% voted for the eventual winner -- Linping.
The name Linping has significance both in Thailand and in China, the country to which the cub officially belongs. (China sent Linping's parents to Thailand on a 10-year loan that expires in 2013, and the conditions of the loan specify that any offspring the two produce will eventually be returned to China.) The "Lin" in Linping honors the cub's mother, Lin Hui, and Ping is a river in Thailand. In Chinese, Linping translates to "forest of ice."
Panda fever took hold in Thailand when the cub was born after many unsuccessful attempts to get Lin Hui to reproduce with male panda Chuang Chuang. The public's interest in the cub was so great, in fact, that some Thai elephant keepers even painted their charges in panda colors to compete with her popularity. Thailand's national news bureau has even announced its plan to allow the 11-pound cub to network with her fans on Facebook and Twitter. See another photo of Linping after the jump!
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photos: Pongmanat Tasiri / European Pressphoto Agency