Xinxing, the world’s oldest giant panda in captivity, has died of multiple organ failure at the age of 38 years and four months, a Chinese zoo announced on Monday. She died at a zoo in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality.
Xinxing, also called “granny panda”, began to show symptoms of drowsiness and loss of appetite on October 21, according to a report by state-run Xinhua. Her condition worsened in the next few days and she developed shortness of breath, cough and abdominal distension, said Chongqing Zoo officials. Experts from several medical institutions made an all-out effort to save her but she eventually passed away on December 8. Anatomical and pathological analysis showed that old age and multiple organ failure are said to have caused digestive disorders and hypoproteinemia. These led to an infection in the digestive and respiratory tracts that caused Xin Xing’s death. Not more than 30 giant pandas around the world have lived to be over 30 years, according to Yin Yanqiang, the zoo’s technical director.
Xinxing was born in 1982 in the wild of Baoxing County of Sichuan province, where French Catholic priest, zoologist and botanist Armand David discovered the species in 1869. Her age was equivalent to more than 110 human years. Brought to the Chongqing Zoo when she was about 1 year old, the mammal was the matriarch of a huge family of over 150 pandas by the end of last year. Since then the panda has given birth to 36 cubs, who reside all around the world, including in the U.S., Canada, and Japan. In August, Xin Xing celebrated her 38th birthday as “100 panda fans sang Happy Birthday and enjoyed cake” with the mammal at the Chongqing Zoo.