The world’s oldest panda has died at the ripe old age of 37.
Basi the panda lived at the Straits Giant Panda Research and Exchange Centre in Fuzhou, China and was more than the equivalent of a hundred human years at the time of her death.
She was the oldest captive giant panda, and had outlived all the other pandas at the rescue centre after she was initially rescued at the age of four.
Since then, she had spent almost her entire life at the facility and has now been honoured with a public memorial to celebrate her life which was broadcast live across the internet.
In a statement, an official from the rescue centre said: ‘With a heavy heart, we solemnly announce today that giant panda star Basi died at 8:50am at the age of 37.’
He also revealed how Basi had been the inspiration behind the mascot for the first Asian games in 1990, hailing her as a ‘‘angel of friendship both at home and abroad.’
In 1987, she was sent to San Diego Zoo and attracted around 2.5 million visitors during her stay.
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Earlier this year, Basi’s 37th birthday was also marked with a lavish birthday cake made from her favourite foods – bamboo, flour, wheat and corn – to help her celebrate the milestone.
Giant pandas are often seen as a hugely symbolic part of Chinese culture, and are highly protected.
The bears, which have a life span of 20 years in the wild, are also no longer endangered after decades of conservation work was successful in securing the future of the much-loved creature.