Jia Jia, the female giant panda who secured her name in the record books as the world’s Oldest living panda in captivity, has sadly passed away at the incredible age of 38.
Born in 1978, Jia Jia first arrived at Ocean Park in Hong Kong, China in March 1999 and it remained her home for the rest of her life.
The longevity of this amazing mammal is particularly impressive considering the typical lifespan of a giant panda (scientifically known as Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is only 18-20 years in the wild and 30 in captivity.
Wild pandas were once found all over southern and eastern China and well into Myanmar and Vietnam, but they are now are considered one of the world's most endangered animals.
Jia Jia celebrated her 38th birthday in August this year, but in the past few weeks her health deteriorated rapidly to the point where she was no longer able to eat. A veterinarian at the park euthanized Jia Jia to prevent her from unnecessary suffering.
Guinness World Records adjudicator Blythe Fitzwiliam visited Hong Kong to present a certificate to Ocean Park recognising Jia Jia’s record back in 2015, when the animal was still in good health.
He said: “I am glad to be at Ocean Park Hong Kong today to officially announce that the Guinness World Records titles for the longevity of giant pandas under human care have been set by Jia Jia … Thanks to the attentive care of the Park for the past 16 years, Jia Jia has set a new longevity record.”
We are saddened to say goodbye to Jia Jia, but her name will live on in the Guinness World Records archives as she remains the Oldest panda ever in captivity.
Commenting on Jia Jia's passing, Ocean Park’s chairman, Leo Kung, said: "This is a day we knew would eventually come, but it is nevertheless a sad day for everyone at the park, especially for the park's keepers who took care of her over the years."