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World’s oldest panda dies aged 37

The world ’ s oldest captive giant panda has died at age 37 — more than 100 years in human years — her handlers in China said on Thursday as they gave “ Basi ” an emotional send -off befitting a minor celebrity .

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 was something of a beloved star in China and her birthdays were often celebrated with gusto.

State television reported live on Thursday from the zoo where Basi lived in southeastern China, which held a memorial in her honour.

“ 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 am on September 13 , 2017 at the age of 37 , ” the Straits Giant Panda Research and Exchange Center in Fuzhou said .

Basi had lived at the facility since being rescued from the wild after she fell into a river in southwestern China at the age of four or five, it said . She was named after the valley where she was found .

Basi spent some time abroad when she was loaned to the San Diego Zoo for six months in 1987.

Giant pandas have a notoriously low reproductive rate , a key contributor — along with habitat loss — to their status as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature ’ s (IUCN ) Red List of threatened species.

The black and white bear , which symbolises wildlife protection efforts worldwide, was previously classified as endangered.

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