World's oldest captive giant panda dies aged 37 in China
15 September, 2017, 00:36
Although pandas live for an average of 15 years, Basi's VIP treatment meant she had excellent nutrition as well as the attentive care of her devoted keeper Shi Feining who had nursed her through several illnesses before his own untimely death at the age of 44, last year.
She was brought to Straits Giant Panda Research and Exchange Center when she was 4 and lived there until she died, the Telegraphreported.
Experts believe the fact that Basi had such longevity while living in in Fuzhou, a very different place from a panda's natural habitat, has important scientific research value. In August, the Guinness World Records confirmed her as the world's oldest living captive panda.
At age four, she fell into an icy river in the southwestern Sichuan province and, after being rescued by locals, was sent to the centre in Fuzhou.
The panda lived there for half a year.
Her body will be kept preserved for display in a planed "Basi Museum" at the zoo.
It erected a two-metre stone statue of Basi on her 35th birthday, and earlier this year she dug into a birthday cake wearing a red crown.
Remarkably, she was nearly killed as a youngster after falling into an icy river was but rescued by villagers from the Basi Gorge. Most giant pandas live an average of 20 years, but those in captivity are able to survive longer because they can be treated for health issues. "Thank you for the sweet memories", said one user on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform. According to reports, the animal facility has established a memorial in the animal's honor.
Basi also wowed American crowds in 1987 while on six-month loan to the San Diego Zoo.
In September 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature removed the panda from its list of endangered species and classified it as vulnerable, the stage before extinction.
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