Pandas 'Married'

BANGKOK, Thailand - Thousands of people in Thailand came to the wedding party Wednesday, but the nuptial bliss belonged to a pair of animals: the country's only two resident giant pandas.

As Chuang Chuang and his female partner, Lin Hui, have become adults and begin to mate, Thai officials decided it was time for the couple to make it official.

Thais dressed in panda and other animal costumes marched and played music in a traditional Thai wedding procession to northern Thailand's Chiang Mai Zoo, where the pandas live.

The guests witnessed a Chinese tea ceremony and a feast of cake — a four-layer ice sculpture filled with fruits that pandas typically eat, said a zoo spokeswoman, Rossukhon Chuicomwong.

The pandas' living quarters were decorated with a large, festive red ribbon and a carved dragon decoration.

Thailand rented Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui from China for $250,000 in October 2003 for 10 years.

The pandas are expected to generate millions of dollars in revenues from Thai and foreign tourists during their stay.

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