Panda lovers and researchers from across the world have got together at a research center in Fujian province to celebrate the birthday of the female panda Basi, who today turns 35.
Basi is the world’s second oldest living giant panda, two years younger than the 37-year-old Jia Jia who lives at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park.
Basi was named after the valley of Baoxing county in Sichuan province where she was born in 1980. She was relocated to the Fuzhou Giant Panda Research Center in Fujian province in 1985 after all the bamboo in her native habitat died off.
In 1987, Basi was invited to stay for half a year at San Diego Zoo, where she amazed over 2.5 million visitors with her acrobatic performances.
In 1990, Basi became a household name in China when she was named as the mascot for the 11th Asian Games held in Beijing. A year later she rose to stardom after performing in front of millions during the Spring Festival Gala.
Giant pandas are one of the world’s most endangered species. According to data released by the State Forestry Administration, as of 2013 there were 1,864 giant pandas living in the wild and 375 in captivity.
On this special day, let’s look back at her performance at the 1991 Spring Festival Gala. Warning: The commentator has a very annoying voice.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via China News // Video via Youtube]