DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Ling Ling (aged 22)
-Male giant panda
Ling Ling (September 5, 1985 – April 30, 2008)was a male Chinese-born, giant panda who resided at the Ueno Zoo, the largest zoo in Tokyo, Japan. At the time of his death at the age of 22, Ling Ling was the only giant panda at the Ueno Zoo and the oldest panda in Japan. He served as an important symbol of the Ueno Zoo and of friendship between Japan and China. Ling Ling, who was given to Japan in 1992, was the only giant panda in the country who was directly owned by Japan. There are eight other giant pandas in Japan as of April 2008, but they are all on loan to Japan from China. Despite being a male panda, Ling Ling’s name meant “darling little girl” in Chinese.
DEATH: Ling Ling’s health began to deteriorate in August 2007 due to old age, with symptoms such as loss of strength and appetite. He had been on medication since September 2007 for his ailments,which included heart and kidney problems. He was removed from public display at the zoo on April 29, 2008, at the beginning of the zoo’s Golden Week holiday season. The zoo explained that Ling Ling would be removed from display in order to undergo intensive care treatments.
Despite the treatments, Ling Ling died at the Ueno Zoo at approximately 2 A.M. on April 30, 2008, just one day after he was withdrawn from public exhibition. An necropsy found that he had died of heart failure. He was 22 years, seven months, and 5 days old, which is roughly equivalent to 70 years old for a human. According to the Ueno Zoo, Ling Ling was the oldest panda in Japan, as well as the fifth oldest known captive male panda in the world at the time of his death. Ling Ling’s portrait and favorite food, bamboo shoots, were displayed in his cage following his death. Zoo visitors left bouquets of flowers and signed condolence registers.