‘Centenarian’ panda celebrates birthday in China

Beijing, Nov 28 (IANS) The world’s second oldest panda celebrated its 35th birthday — an equivalent of more than 100 human years — on Saturday in China’s Fuzhou city.

Basi is the longest living panda on the Chinese mainland, and possibly the most famous, Xinhua news agency reported.

Jia Jia, a 38-year-old female panda at Ocean Park Hong Kong, is the oldest.

In 1990, Basi was chosen as the prototype for Pan Pan, the mascot of the Beijing Asian Games.

She got her name after being rescued from the Basi gorge in Sichuan province.

She has survived several bouts of illness since 2000, including hypertension and pancreatitis.

Basi was also the first panda to successfully undergo cataract surgery.

Birthday celebrations have been ongoing since May, featuring activities to raise public awareness of panda protection. A one-minute animation featuring Basi also began a 10-day showing on a screen in New York’s Times Square on September 21.

The average lifespan of wild pandas is 15 years, while those in captivity usually live longer due to better nutrition and living conditions, and care.

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