World’s oldest captive panda dies at 37
The world’s oldest panda in captivity died at the age of 37 in East China’s Fujian Province on Wednesday.
The age is equivalent to 100 years for humans.
Chen Yucun, director of the Straits Giant Panda Research and Exchange Center in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian, said Basi died of multiple illnesses, including liver cirrhosis and renal failure, said the Xinhua News Agency.
Basi was born in 1980 in Baoxing County, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. Chinese people considered her a celebrity and she was the prototype for the mascot Panpan of the 1990 Beijing Asian Games.
She died at 8:50 am on September 13 at the Straits Giant Panda Research and Exchange Center, facility officials said.
“Losing Basi is one of the things that bothers me most,” Chen Yucun, head of the facility, tearfully told China Central Television, adding that he did not go home for a month because he was attending to Basi.
A special team of 20 specialists was assigned to take care of Basi when her health began to deteriorate on June 8.
Basi celebrated her 37th birthday in January. In August, the Guinness World Records confirmed her as the world’s oldest living captive panda, said Xinhua.
The average lifespan of wild pandas is 15 years, said Xinhua, but those in captivity usually live longer due to better nutrition and living conditions.
The number of pandas living in the wild was fewer than 2,000, and around 400 were living in captivity as of the end of 2013, according to data from China’s State Forestry Administration.