Oldest captive panda dies in Shandong

Updated: 2008-04-03 21:59

BEIJING - Taotao, China's oldest captive panda and the enduring favorite of millions of visitors to Shandong' Province's Jinan Zoo, died Wednesday following a battle against old age and illness, China News Service reported.

China's oldest captive panda - Taotao. [chinanews.cn]

Taotao died from brain thrombus disease and cerebral hemorrhaging at the age of 36, far beyond the normal life expectancy of 25 years for a panda in captivity. She had been in declining health since the disease was discovered in February of this year.

Taotao was born in the wilderness of northwestern China's Gansu Province, and was brought to Jinan Zoo in October 1994. Despite her prolonged stay in the zoo, she never gave birth in captivity.

Jinan Zoo has reportedly accorded Taotao the title of "ambassador of harmonious zoology." Her remains, after made into specimen, will be sent back to Gansu Province so she can rest in peace there.

About 200 pandas currently live in captivity around the world, but the animals are native only to China.

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