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Hong Kong pandas reach world record for longevity

Hong Kong pandas reach world record for longevity
July 30, 2015

Hong Kong theme park Ocean Park has this week celebrated the birthday of its four giant pandas, with 37 year old Jia Jia achieving the milestone of being the oldest giant panda living in captivity – an age recognised by Guinness World Records.

Jia Jia, whose name means ‘good’, has achieved an age said to put her on par with a human centenarian, setting two Guinness World Records, being officially recognised as the Oldest panda ever in captivity and Oldest panda living in captivity.

Jia Jia has now beaten a record previously held by the giant panda Du Du, who died in 1999, aged 37 at the Chengdu Zoological Garden in China.

In a significant week for Ocean Park’s giant pandas, the male An An, who will soon turn 29, is has become the world’s second oldest living male giant panda under human care while the younger giant panda Ying Ying, who participated in the National Giant Panda Breeding Program in China for the first time this year for the first time, has returned to the park.

Commenting on the giant panda’s longevity, Ocean Park Director of Animal Care. Grant Abel, stated "it is rare for pandas to live to this age

"It's probably equivalent to someone, a human person, who would be over a hundred years of age."

Born in China in 1978, Jia Jia and An An were gifted to Hong Kong in 1999, along with another panda, to mark the second anniversary of the city's handover from former colonial ruler Britain.

Jia Jia weighs 80 kilograms and is considered to be in remarkably good health for her age, even though her vision is severely impaired and her hearing has deteriorated.

Jia Jia takes medicines for high blood pressure and arthritis, walks slowly and avoids the exhibition area of her enclosure, preferring to stay at the back and feast on several kilograms of bamboo shoots and leaves, besides fruit and high-fibre bread.

On the other hand, Ying Ying and another younger giant panda Le Le are in good health. During Ying Ying’s visit to, she attempted mating with two of the males for a total of five times and eventually mated once. Ying Ying also received artificial insemination to maximise her chances of pregnancy.

They also have an exceptionally short breeding season, with females fertile for just 24 to 36 hours a year, according to Pandas International.

Ocean Park Chairman Leo Kung, stated “we strive to provide the best possible care to our animal ambassadors, from the day they are born or arrive at the Park until their golden years.

“It gives us tremendous pride that Hong Kong Ocean Park is now the home of the world’s oldest ever giant panda and the world’s second oldest male giant panda under human care.

“A lot of credit goes to our dedicated animal care team, which has continued to benefit from the advice and guidance of experts in Sichuan through their regular visits to the Park.”

Pandas are endangered because most of their natural habitat has been destroyed for timber, farming and construction, according to conservation group the World Wildlife Fund. A Chinese government survey in 2014 estimated 1,864 pandas live in the wild, up 17% from 2003. 

Images show giant pandas Jia Jia (top) and An An (below).

27th March 2015 - OCEAN PARK HONG KONG LAUNCHES AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK-THEMED ATTRACTION

25th March 2015 - INTERNATIONAL ZOO ASSOCIATION ACCUSED OF OVERLOOKING HORRIFIC ANIMAL CRUELTY

10th August 2011 - PANDA ANNIVERSARY HIGHLIGHTS OCEAN PARK’S CONSERVATION STANDARDS

1st December 2010 - ADELAIDE ZOO’S PANDAS BOOST VISITORS

23rd July 2010 - CHINA LAUNCHES GLOBAL SEARCH FOR PANDA KEEPERS 


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