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Rare giant panda dies at ripe old age of 30 at a zoo in China

One of China's rare giant pandas has died at age 30, exceeding the average panda life expectancy by about 10 years, the Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

Qiang Qiang, a female, died Jan. 28 in Chengdu city in southwestern Sichuan province, where she had been moved to receive medical treatment, Xinhua said.The panda had lived for 22 years at a zoo in the northeastern city of Shenyang, but had started showing signs of senility about 10 years ago, the agency said.

"She ate very little, and became languid, and one of her eyes suffered from a cataract," it quoted a zookeeper as saying.

Her condition had deteriorated rapidly in recent months, the agency said.

"Since the end of last year, Qiang Qiang's symptoms worsened and sometimes she ate nothing at all for several consecutive days," the agency said.

The life expectancy of a panda is 20 years but experts had prolonged Qiang Qiang's years by feeding her a special diet of rice gruel, vegetables, vitamins and traditional medicinal tonics, it said.

Caretakers had also airlifted fresh bamboo from Sichuan, it said. Sichuan is home to 80 percent of the estimated 1,000 pandas living in the wild, it said.

Xinhua did not say how many pandas remained in captivity.