World

Happy birthday! World's oldest panda turns 37

She celebrated her birthday in style on Tuesday (July 28).

To mark turning 37 — or the equivalent of more than 100 years old in human terms — giant panda Jia Jia had a towering cake made of ice and fruit juice.

It was presented in her enclosure at Hong Kong's Ocean Park theme park.

Is it to her taste? Giant panda Jia Jia checks out the birthday cake that Ocean Park staff prepared for her. PHOTO: REUTERS

Jia Jia was born in the wild in Sichuan, China, in 1978.

She was given to Hong Kong in 1999 to mark the semi-autonomous city’s handover by Britain two years earlier.

Ocean Park workers stand outside giant panda Jia Jia's home, the Hong Kong Ocean Park. PHOTO: REUTERS

The previous record-holder was a male panda called Du Du, who was also caught in the wild and died in July 1999 aged 36.

He lived in a zoo in China’s Hubei Province.

Vet Paolo Martelli said Jia Jia was still “moving about” though she suffered from cataracts and high blood pressure.

He said:

“She is sleeping more, so is doing everything less. But she is ageing gracefully, just like your grandma.”
 

Because she eats less bamboo, she relies on fibre supplements, he added.

  A breeder shows the fruits and specially-made high-fibre bread for giant panda Jia Jia at the Hong Kong Ocean Park. PHOTO: REUTERS

Adjudicator of Guinness World Records Blythe Ryan Fitzwilliam​ said during a ceremony at the park:

"Jia Jia has achieved two Guinness world record titles: The oldest panda living in captivity and the oldest panda ever living in captivity." 

He offered her his congratulations, saying it was an “amazing longevity achievement”.

Sources: Reuters, AFP, Twitter

oldest giant pandaUncategorisedhong kongFamilylongetivityOcean Park