World’s oldest panda – known as the ‘hero mother’ with 153 descendants – dies of multiple organ failure at the age of 38 in China
- Panda Xin Xing was more than 130 in human years when she passed this month
- Her health deteriorated in October and all treatment failed, a zoo revealed today
- Hailed as the ‘hero mother’, she gave birth to 36 cubs and had 153 descendants
- Xin Xing was born in the wild in August 1982 and lived in captivity most of her life
The world’s oldest panda in captivity has died of multiple organ failure at the age of 38 years and four months, a Chinese zoo has announced.
Panda Xin Xing, or ‘new star’, was more than 130 in human years when she passed on December 8 at the Chongqing Zoo in south-western China.
Xin Xing was hailed as the ‘hero mother’ for having 153 descendants – including 36 cubs of her own – during her long life.
Xin Xing looks at a cake during her 38th birthday at the Chongqing Zoo, China, on August 16
The news was announced by the Chongqing Zoo through a social media statement on Monday – nearly two weeks after Xin Xing’s death. It remains unclear why the announced was delayed.
According to the statement, Xin Xin was born in the wild in the Baoxing County of Sichuan Province in August 1982.
In June 1983, She was sent to live in captivity at the Chongqing Zoo where she would spend the rest of her life.
On August 16 this year, Xin Xing celebrated her 38th birthday with a grand birthday party topped by a cake made with a chunk of ice and her favourite fruits.
Xin Xin was born in the wild in the Baoxing County of Sichuan Province in August 1982. She spent most of her live in captivity after being taken to the Chonqing Zoo as a cub in June 1983
The zoo said that Xin Xing started to experience oversleeping, coughing and a decreased appetite on October 21. She was also said to have difficulties breathing and standing.
Two days later, Xin Xing began to experience bloating and constipation.
The zoo invited experts from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda and the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University to treat Xin Xing multiple times, but all medical efforts failed, the statement said.
Xin Xing passed at 1.25pm on December 8, the statement continued, adding that a post-mortem examination showed that the bear had died of multiple organ failure.
The zoo said it was completely heartbroken over the passing of Xin Xing.
A panda’s age is three to 3.5 times that of the humankind, Chongqing Zoo told MailOnline.
This means Xin Xing was between 114 and 133 in human years.
Xin Xing died at 1.25pm on December 8, the Chongqing Zoo said in a statement. It added that a post-mortem examination showed that the elderly panda had died of multiple organ failure
Only one other panda in captivity has ever lived as long as Xin Xing.
Jia Jia, a female panda which lived at the Ocean Park Hong Kong, was 38 years old when it was put down to ‘prevent further suffering’ in October 2016.
Jia Jia’s health had rapidly deteriorated over the two weeks before the procedure, leaving her unable to walk without difficulty, a statement from the theme park said.
In 2017, the then world’s oldest captive giant panda, Basi, died at the age of 37 at the Strait Panda Research and Exchange Centre in China.
The zoo said that the female bear had died of ‘illnesses’ without specifying.
Why are panda cubs so precious?
Four-month-old panda cub ‘Yuan Meng’ is pictured during its naming ceremony at the Beauval Zoo in France in December, 2017
It’s difficult for a female panda to get pregnant due to a few reasons.
Among all female pandas, only 20 per cent or so are fertile, and the other 80 per cent have trouble forming healthy eggs, according to Chen Yucun, a panda expert at China’s Strait Panda World in Fuzhou.
In addition, a female panda is only on heat once a year for about 48 hours, making it hard for keepers to arrange mating or artificial insemination.
Lastly, it is extremely rare to find male pandas which are capable of natural mating.
Only less than five per cent of the whole male panda population can do so without human intervention, according to Zhang Guiquan, an expert from the China Conservation and Research Centre.
‘So female pandas do not have much choice,’ Zhang told Shanghai Daily.
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