Japan's oldest giant panda dies at 28 in Kobe

2024-04-01 15:01:13 GMT2024-04-01 23:01:13(Beijing Time) Sina English

The oldest giant panda living in Japan, Tan Tan, has died at age 28 at a zoo in the western city of Kobe.

The oldest giant panda living in Japan, Tan Tan, has died at age 28 at a zoo in the western city of Kobe after spending 24 years there as a symbol of recovery from the Great Hanshin Earthquake that struck the region in 1995, the zoo said on Monday.

The female giant panda, whose age was equivalent to being in her 80s in human years, was under treatment after being found with heart disease in March 2021. She is believed to have died from prostration caused by the disease, according to Kobe Oji Zoo.

A zookeeper found Tan Tan in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest shortly past 10 pm local time on Sunday, and her death was confirmed at 11:56 pm local time after a veterinarian performed resuscitation.

Tan Tan came to the zoo from China in 2000 under a 10-year lease, but her stay was prolonged after the Chinese side agreed to extend the contract for five years twice.

The panda had been scheduled to be sent back to China in July 2020, but the trip was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After the pandemic, her return was put off again considering the need for medical treatment following the diagnosis of age-related cardiac disease in 2021.

The zoo had refrained from showcasing the giant panda to the general public since spring 2022 due to her health condition. Since the fall of last year, Tan Tan had been less active and sleeping longer.

At a news conference on Monday afternoon, Yujiro Kako, the zoo's 55-year-old director, said the giant panda had given courage to local residents and children for nearly 24 years, especially after the earthquake.

"We sincerely wish to express our gratitude to everyone who has shown interest in and love for giant panda Tan Tan over the years," Kako said.