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Oldest known male panda dies in Germany

Bao Bao was given as a gift by China to West Germany’s chancellor in 1978.

File photo of Bao Bao in 2005
File photo of Bao Bao in 2005
Image: Franka Bruns/AP/Press Association Images

THE BERLIN ZOO said Bao Bao, who was given to West Germany by China in 1980 and was one of the world’s oldest giant pandas, has died.

The zoo said the 34-year-old bear died early today in his enclosure after his health deteriorated over the last several months.

Bao Bao was born in 1978 in China and later given as a gift by then-Chinese leader Hua Guofeng to West Germany’s chancellor, Helmut Schmidt. Hua, Mao Zedong’s successor, also gave Germany female panda Tjen Tjen at the same time, but she died in 1984.

Bao Bao was loaned to London’s zoo between 1991 and 1993 as a potential — but ultimately unsuccessful — mate for its panda, Ming Ming.

The zoo says Bao Bao was the world’s oldest known male panda.

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Associated Press

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