The world’s oldest panda, Ming Ming, has passed away. Chinese state media broke the news to the rest of the world with a headline in the Global Times that read, “China’s Oldest Panda Kicks Bucket.” The panda died due to old age and kidney failure.
According to experts, wild pandas are expected to live until about 15 years of age. Those kept in captivity are only expected to live until 22; Ming Ming was 34.
The famous panda was rescued from the forest of Sichuan Province, China, and brought into custody in 1977 as an abandoned cub. She traveled between various zoos in China and Europe all over her life.
Ming Ming was the subject of much international debate in 1991 when she was sent to the London Zoo to mate with German panda Bao Bao. After fighting with Bao Bao and failing to generate any cubs, Ming Ming returned to China amid much diplomatic turmoil.
Forbes reports that giant pandas are one of the most endangered class in the world. Only an estimated 1,600 remain in the wild. China maintains over 300 in captivity, mostly in breeding programs that attempt to increase the population. As Ming Ming’s international match-making dissatisfaction shows, breeding giant pandas in custody is no easy task.