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World's Oldest Panda Dies: China's Basi Was 37 and a Star

By    |   Thursday, 14 Sep 2017 09:25 AM

The world oldest panda in captivity, Basi, has died at Fuzhou in southeast China at age 37, equivalent to more than 100 human years. She was a star in China and the U.S.

Basi had outlasted all her panda peers at the zoo, the BBC News reported on Thursday. Giant pandas, protected in China and considered symbols of the country, live to an average age of 20 in the wild and tend to live longer in captivity.

Basi had been suffering from hepatocirrhosis, renal failure, and other diseases since June, said Chen Yucun, director of the Strait Panda Research and Exchange Center in Fuzhou, per CGTN.com.

"With a heavy heart, we solemnly announce today that the original model of 'Panpan,' the mascot for the first Asian Games (in China, 1990), and an angel of friendship both at home and abroad, giant panda star Basi died at 8:50 a.m. on Sept. 13, 2017, at the age of 37," the panda center said.

Basi was known for her athletic feats, including riding a bike, dunking a ball through a lowered basketball hoop, lifting weights, and twirling a baton in her forepaws while balancing on a see-sawing wooden board, Agence France-Presse said.

The panda also thrilled American audiences during a six-month loan to the San Diego Zoo in 1987, AFP noted.

Rescued from a frozen river in the Basi Gorge in the southwest China province of Sichuan Province at the age of four, the panda was moved to Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province, CGTN noted.

AFP said white roses, arranged in the shape of a heart, were placed in front of Basi's favorite tree.

"She once brought us joy here, and we wish to leave the fragrance here for her," Xiu Yunfang, deputy director of the facility in the city of Fuzhou, told state television, per AFP.

Pandas are no longer endangered, but are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of threatened species.

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The world oldest panda in captivity, Basi, has died at Fuzhou in southeast China at age 37, equivalent to more than 100 human years. She was a star in China and the U.S.
worlds, oldest, panda, dies
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2017-25-14
Thursday, 14 Sep 2017 09:25 AM
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