World’s oldest panda dies

Panda Jia Jia during its 37th birthday celebration in 2015
Panda Jia Jia during its 37th birthday celebration in 2015

The world’s oldest giant panda in captivity has died in Hong Kong, the amusement park where it lived confirmed on Monday.

Jia Jia, 38, was attended on Sunday by veterinarians at Ocean Park which had cared for her for the past 17 years.

“Jia Jia was observed to be rapidly deteriorating in recent two weeks, with her food consumption sharply declining.

“Over the past few days, she has been spending less time awake and showing no interest in food or fluids,’’ the park said in a statement.

Jia Jia was rescued in China’s Sichuan province in 1980, before becoming one of a pair of pandas that was gifted to Hong Kong in 1999 by the Chinese government.

It was given to mark the city’s return from British rule two years previously.

Ocean Park still has three resident pandas, one of which – 30-year-old male, An An – is currently receiving treatment for geriatric conditions such as high blood pressure and arthritis.

Pandas have an average life expectancy of less than 20 years in the wild, and up to around 25 years in captivity.

In September, the giant panda was reclassified from endangered to merely “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resource’s list of threatened species.

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