WHAT do you get a panda for its birthday?
It’s not the start of a joke but a genuine dilemma for zookeepers in China.
Basi the giant panda, who was rescued from a frozen river as a young cub, has just turned 37 at a zoo in the south-east of the country.
She’s the the oldest known panda in captivity and to celebrate the occasion she was given a birthday cake made up of her favourite treats: bamboo, flour, wheat and corn.
Earlier in her life, Basi was trained to lift weights, ride bikes and shoot hoops by trainers, and was the inspiration behind PanPan, the mascot of the 1990 Asian Games.
She’s one of only three giant pandas to have reached this age, which is more than 100 in human terms.
Chen Yucun, who has looked after Basi since she was found in 1984, told the Daily Mail: “It is hard to put an exact conversion rate between panda years and human years.
“But most pandas start having health issues, such as heart diseases, when they are around 20 years old, and human being usually get the illnesses when they are around 80 years old.”
Pandas in captivity live an average of 30 years.
Although she’s surpassed this, Basi is showing her age and suffers from a cataract and high blood pressure.
Things are looking up for pandas in general though, as they’ve just been downgraded from endangered to vulnerable.