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Mexico City's Chapultepec zoo is home to the oldest pandas outside China

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨CGTN

06-22-2018 14:53 BJT

Mexico City's Chapultepec zoo's two pands, Shuan Shuan and Xin Xin, are 31 and 28-years-old respectively, far outliving the 22-year average life expectancy of a panda bear living in captivity.

The two bears are also the first ever to be born in captivity outside of China.

Their longevity is attributed by the zoo's staff to a careful regimen of diet, exercise and medical checkups, which they undergo every morning.

"We've discovered that we can train panda bears to go through medical checkups, assuming positions that allow us to examine their health in detail, from their dental hygiene to muscle tone," said Miriam Nogueira, Chapultepec Zoo's chief medical officer. 

"That has been vital, because otherwise medical examinations are done under anesthesia, and every time you use that, it does damage to the animals' health."

The pandas are big crowd-pleasers, attracting as many as 50,000 people a day to their bamboo-filled exhibit, where they sleep in hammocks, swim in their ponds, and munch on their favorite plant.

"They're my favorite animal and I'm happy to see Mexico doing its best to help this endangered species," said one visitor.

The zoo's director Claudia Levy says that the fact that they were born in the zoo has allowed them a unique insight into the lives of these mysterious creatures.

"We have seen them grow from cubs, and have gathered a lot of information on how best to care for them throughout their lifetimes," she said. 

"It's information, particularly on how we have trained the pandas to undergo medical checkups without the need for drugs that we share with other zoos with pandas around the world."

"It's about furthering our collective knowledge so that everyone can enjoy these amazing animals," she said.

As Chapultepec's pandas move into old age, the zoo's staff says they will continue to learn about how best to care for these animals, hoping to help other zoos around the world raise record-breaking pandas as well.

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