Goodbye, Jia Jia: World's Oldest Panda in Captivity Dies
Last Sunday, the oldest panda in captivity named Jia Jia has finally rested at the age of 38. The said panda was the record holder last year for the oldest panda alive, and now, Hong Kong's Ocean Park announced through their chairman Leo Kung Lin-cheng that they will surely miss Jia Jia who is already considered as a part of their family.
Suffering from arthritis, weight loss, high blood pressure and cataracts, the park management has decided euthanasia on the panda. Performed by Dr. Paolo Martelli, the park's director for veterinary service, the procedure was to prevent Jia Jia's suffering and for ethical reasons agreed upon by the veterinarians from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department as well as the park management.
According to the South China Morning Post, Jia Jia's health started to deteriorate because of old age. Being a 38-year-old panda is almost equivalent to a 114-year-old human. In the past few weeks, she was observed to be losing appetite, eating only seven pounds which was just one-third of her original consumption. On Sunday morning, she was found lying, unable to walk, spending the whole day with minimal movement.
Jia Jia, whose name meant "good," together with another panda named An An was a gift from the central government to Hong Kong. Jia Jia was originally from Qingchuan, Sichuan province. She was rescued in 1980 where it was estimated that she was already around 2 years old. Before her turnover to Hong Kong, she was confined at the Giant Panda Breeding Center at Woolong Nature Reserve.
In a news from National Geographic, it was highlighted that pandas usually live for only 20 years, but if in captivity, they may live beyond the average life span. On the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), pandas are listed as vulnerable. Thus, efforts on ending wildlife poaching and promoting panda conservation activities are highly encouraged.