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Grandfather of National Zoo's Panda Cubs Dies - Source Washingtonian

Posted on Jan 03,2017
Filed Under Pets , Community,

Tian Tian, just sitting there. Photograph courtesy National Zoo.

Source Washingtonian

By Benjamin Freed

WASHINGTON, DC. - Pan Pan, a 31-year-old male giant panda genetically linked to about one-quarter of the world’s population of captive-born pandas, including the National Zoo’s Tian Tian and the three cubs the zoo has raised since 2005, died Wednesday at a conservation and research center in China.

The cause of the bear’s death, which was first reported by the Chinese state media agency Xinhua, has not yet been determined, though suspicious causes have been ruled out in favor of Pan Pan’s advanced age—31 for giant pandas is the equivalent to about a century for humans. Giant pandas have expected lifespans of about 20 years in the wild and longer in captivity; Pan Pan was a few months old when he was captured in 1985.

In captivity, though, Pan Pan enjoyed a particularly active life for a panda, siring at least 32 cubs over a two-decade period, including Tian Tian, who was born in 1997 and arrived at the National Zoo in 2000. Between Tian Tian’s three surviving offspring—Butterstick (d/b/a Tai Shan), Bei Bei, and Bao Bao—and his other progeny’s progeny, Pan Pan has more than 130 descendants in zoos and research facilities around the world, a distinction that earned him the nickname “Panda Grandpa.”

Source Washingtonian

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