January 18, 2017 / 11:27 AM / 7 months ago

Basi, world's oldest captive panda, turns 37

Basi, the oldest captive giant panda alive, eats a cake as people celebrate its 37 birthday, in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, January 18, 2017. China Daily/via REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - Basi, the oldest giant panda living in captivity, celebrated her 37th birthday on Wednesday wearing a crown and getting a special birthday cake.

Tourists eagerly snapped photos as Basi, whose age is equivalent to 140 human years, slurped a soup of maize flour and eggs from a cake-shaped bowl at the Fuzhou Giant Panda Research Centre in southern China.

The panda can only be fed liquids and a small amount of bamboo leaves, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Basi has high blood pressure and needed cataract surgery several years ago, but overall she was in good health, CCTV said.

Although the International Union for the Conservation of Nature downgraded the giant panda's status to "vulnerable" from "endangered" in September last year, the species still relies on conservation programs, conservationists say.

Reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by Darren Schuettler

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