National Zoo's Famous Panda Dies

Sunday, November 28th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Hsing-Hsing, the National Zoo's giant panda has died. He was put to sleep by veterinarians about 7 am. Zoo officials in Washington say he had been deteriorating from kidney disease since the first of the year.

Hsing-Hsing was 28 years old -- one of just a handful of pandas to reach that age. Vets at the zoo say he had become increasingly weak and inactive. Zoo director Michael Robinson compared the death to the passing of a close friend. He says Hsing-Hsing was "an exceptionally good-natured animal" and was much loved by staff and millions of visitors.

The Chinese government gave the 26-year-old panda and his mate, Ling-Ling, to the National Zoo in 1972. Ling-Ling died in 1992.

Giant pandas are an endangered species, with fewer than two dozen outside China.