World's oldest captive panda 'Basi' dies at 37

Basi was given an emotional send-off by her handlers - The Straits Giant Panda Research and Exchange Center in southeastern China, where she lived for 33 years.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Sep 14, 2017, 14:15 PM IST
World's oldest captive panda 'Basi' dies at 37
Representational image

New Delhi: The world`s oldest captive giant panda 'Basi' has died in China at the age of 37.

Basi was given an emotional send-off by her handlers - The Straits Giant Panda Research and Exchange Center in southeastern China, where she lived for 33 years.

"With a heavy heart, we solemnly announce today that the original model of `Pan Pan`, 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 8:50am on September 13, 2017 at the age of 37," the centre said.

White roses, arranged in the shape of a heart, also were laid in front of Basi`s favourite 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.

Basi outlived most of her peers by nearly two decades -- pandas in the wild have an average lifespan of about 20 years, but those in captivity generally live longer.

She died of old age, liver cirrhosis and kidney failure, said the centre, which also serves as a zoo known as Fuzhou Panda World.

Besides her longevity, Basi was beloved for her athletic feats, which became the inspiration for the 1990 Asian Games official mascot.

She could ride a bike, dunk a ball through a lowered basketball hoop, lift weights, and twirl a baton in her forepaws while balancing on a see-sawing wooden board.Basi also wowed American crowds in 1987 while on six-month loan to the San Diego Zoo.

(With Agency inputs)