Date
20 January 2017
Jia Jia was a gift from China to mark the 1997 handover. In recent years, her healh had rapidly deteriorated. Photos: Reuters, Facebook/Ocean Park
Jia Jia was a gift from China to mark the 1997 handover. In recent years, her healh had rapidly deteriorated. Photos: Reuters, Facebook/Ocean Park

Ocean Park puts down world’s oldest captive panda

A female giant panda, which had been one of the top attractions in Ocean Park since 1999, was euthanized on Sunday after her health condition worsened rapidly due to multiple chronic diseases.

Jia Jia, a gift from China to mark the 1997 handover, was born in the wild in Sichuan province, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

She was 38 years old or 110 in human years.

Jia Jia suffered from cataract, high blood pressure and arthritis. Her food intake and weight had dropped rapidly in recent years.

On Sunday morning, she could barely move, prompting officials from the theme park and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department to put her out of her misery in the afternoon.

The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, Sichuan province, was notified.

In 2015, Jia Jia was declared by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest panda in captivity.

A captive giant panda lives to about 20 years while those in the wild have a shorter lifespan but it’s rare for a giant panda to live past 30.

Suzanne Gendron, executive director of the park’s zoological operations and education department, said a video clip about Jia Jia has been posted on YouTube as a memorial.

The park’s Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures will launch a commemorative event this Saturday.

Meanwhile, An An, another Ocean Park panda who is now 30 and the oldest giant male panda in captivity, is undergoing treatment for high blood pressure and arthritis.

Two others — Ying Ying and Le Le, both 11 — are in good health.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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