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World's oldest panda dies

Bao Bao, the oldest male captive panda in the world, died in a Berlin zoo today, aged 34.

Panda baodiesEnlarge
Bao Bao, who was given to West Germany by China in 1980, was one of the world's oldest giant pandas. (AFP/Getty Images)

The oldest male panda bear in the world was found dead in his enclosure in a Berlin zoo today.

Bao Bao, a gift from China to former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, was aged 34, Times Live reported.

Born in 1978, he was the last remaining panda in Germany, and had been suffering ill health for several months. 

The Telegraph, in London, reported Bao Bao lived with his companion, Tjen Tjen, until her death in 1984 and then was alone in Berlin, despite an unsuccessful attempt to mate him with a female panda called Ming Ming in London in 1991.

Keen to find Bao Bao a partner to mate with, another panda arrived at the zoo in 1992 but it proved unsuccessful and the female died in 2007.

Zoo staff told BBC News Bao Bao made an impact from the day she arrived. 

He "quickly conquered the hearts of the Berlin people", zoo official, Heiner Kloes, said in a statement.

"Bao Bao will never be forgotten."

He died peacefully in his sleep. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

Original Source URL: 
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/wildlife-news/120822/worlds-oldest-panda-dies

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/wildlife-news/120822/worlds-oldest-panda-dies