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World's oldest panda dies in China

BBC News logo BBC News 9/14/2017
Basi sniffs a birthday cake prepared by her keepers at Fuzhou Panda World: Basi passed away at the ripe old age of 37 © AFP Basi passed away at the ripe old age of 37

The world's oldest captive giant panda has died, according to her keepers in China's south-eastern Fuzhou province.

At 37, Basi had outlived all her panda peers, reaching the equivalent of more than a 100 in human years.

Giant pandas are regarded as symbols of China and are highly protected. But they are no longer endangered, following decades of conservation work.

Named after a valley she was rescued from, Basi had lived at the panda facility since she was four or five.

State television broadcast live from the centre on Thursday as it held a public memorial in her honour.

"With a heavy heart, we solemnly announce today that giant panda star Basi died at 8:50am at the age of 37," an official from the Straits Giant Panda Research and Exchange Centre in Fuzhou said.

The official said the bear had inspired the mascot for the first Asian Games in 1990.

"She was an angel of friendship both at home and abroad."

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