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Jia Jia, the world's oldest giant panda, died

Posted by Jeroen Jacobs | Date: 2016 10 17 | In: Ocean Park Hong Kong

Jia Jia died 2016Jia Jia, the world’s oldest giant panda, died on October 16, 2016 at Ocean Park Hong Kong.

Here is the official announcement from Ocean Park:

With deep sadness and sorrow, we announce the passing of a celebrated life of 38-year-old Jia Jia, the world’s oldest giant panda to have lived under human care. All of us at Ocean Park are saddened by the loss of our giant panda, Jia Jia.

Jia Jia was observed to be rapidly deteriorating in recent two weeks, with her food consumption sharply declining from over 10kg to less than 3kg per day, and her average weight dropping from 71kg to around 67kg. Over the past few days, she has been spending less time awake and showing no interest in food or fluids. Her condition became worse this morning, Jia Jia was not able to walk about without difficulties and spent the day laying down. The medical management was limited to avoiding pain and distress. Her state became so debilitated that based on ethical reasons and in order to prevent suffering, veterinarians from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and Ocean Park agreed to a humane euthanasia for Jia Jia. This decision is also consistent with the approved euthanasia policy of the Park and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Dr. Paolo Martelli, Director for Veterinary Service, Ocean Park Hong Kong, performed the procedure at about 6pm today at Jia Jia’s den in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures.

Jia Jia has been with Ocean Park for 17 years. She was a member of our family and she will be deeply missed, especially by the Park’s keepers who took care of her over the years. Jia Jia was the world’s oldest giant panda ever under human care at the ripe old age of 38. The average life expectancy of the species is below 20 years in the wild, and around 20 years under human care. This is a day we knew would eventually come, but it is nevertheless a sad day for everyone at the Park.

Since the arrival of Jia Jia to Hong Kong, she has served as an important animal ambassador for her species. Ocean Park’s panda-related educational programmes have remained the most popular among guests and students, and have successfully raised public awareness on the importance of protecting this precious species and their natural habitat. We are proud of her contribution to conservation.

We will share a video made in memory of Jia Jia on our official YouTube channel and establish a memorial corner outside the HKJCST starting from Saturday, 22 October 2016 for guests to pay tribute to their beloved animal ambassador.

Jia Jia, thank you for being with us throughout the years! RIP!

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