World’s oldest giant panda in captivity dies at 38 in Hongkong

Hong Kong,Oct17: Jia Jia, the world’s oldest giant panda in captivity, has died at a Hong Kong theme park at the age of 38.

The female panda, whose age in human terms was equivalent to 114 years, was euthanised on Sunday night as her health had deteriorated rapidly, authorities of Ocean Park, the Hong Kong theme park that was home to Jia Jia, said in a statement.

Her food consumption had drastically fallen over recent weeks, from 10 kg a day to under three, leading to a four kg weight loss, EFE news reported citing the statement.

Jia Jia, who celebrated her birthday in August, had developed signs of poor health in her old age, including high blood pressure and arthritis, which required regular medication.

Over the past few days, she has been spending less time awake and showing no interest in food or fluids and losing weight. Her condition became worse this morning (Sunday), Jia Jia was not able to walk.

Jia Jia, whose name meant “good”, was a gift from the Chinese government to Hong Kong in 1999, on the occasion of the second anniversary of the former British colony’s handover to the mainland.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the destruction of the natural habitat of the giant pandas in the wild has reduced their population to less than 2,000.

Their low birth rate also means breeding in captivity has become key to ensuring its survival.

While Jia Jia was in Hong Kong, she had six offspring, spread over five deliveries.

According to Guinness World Records, the average lifespan for a panda in the wild is 18 to 20 years, while in captivity it’s 30 years.