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December 19, 2009

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Basketball shooting panda dies

THE last giant panda who could drive, play horns, and shoot basketballs died at the age of 26.

The male giant panda Ying Ying is the last giant panda in the world trained to perform acrobatics, Changjiang Daily reported yesterday.

Born in 1984 in Sichuan Province, Ying Ying was sent to a circus in central China's Wuhan City. The clever giant panda learned to play basketball in 10 months, and started to perform on stage in 1986.

In 1988, China signed the Washington Treaty barring endangered animals from being trained in circuses.

Ying Ying's main trainer Bai Yuling was in tears when talking about the panda who was with him over 20 years. She said she considered Ying Ying her son. Their relationship was filmed in the documentary, "Bai and Ying."

The giant panda died of old age after five days of agony this June, and the news of his death was just released.


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