World's oldest panda dies aged 37

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-09-14 14:45

FUZHOU - Basi, the world's oldest captive panda, has died at the age of 37, equivalent to more than 100 human years.

Basi died Wednesday morning at the Strait Panda Research and Exchange Center in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province in eastern China.

Chen Yucun, director of the center, said Basi had died of multiple illnesses, including liver cirrhosis and renal failure.

"Basi's body will be put in Basi Museum, which is being constructed for people to forever remember her and share the spirit of the harmonious development between humans and nature," Chen said.

Basi became ill in June, and doctors had since tried every means to help prolong her life.

In 1990, Basi was chosen as the model for Pan Pan, the mascot of the Beijing Asian Games, and became a household name.

Many netizens called her Granny Basi, though others preferred to call her Pan Pan.

Basi celebrated her 37 birthday in January. In August, the Guinness World Records confirmed her as the world's oldest living captive panda.

She was very talented and liked weight-lifting, riding a bicycle and playing basketball.

Basi was born in the wild in 1980. At the age of four, she fell into an icy river and was rescued by local villagers from the Basi Gorge in the county of Baoxing in southwest China's Sichuan Province. People named her after the gorge and sent her to the Fuzhou center, where she has lived ever since.

She survived severe illness several times, thanks to the care of her devoted keeper Shi Feining, who died aged 44 in 2016.

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