World’s oldest panda in captivity put down because of ill health

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Jia Jia, 38, euthanised by vet to prevent further suffering and for ethical reasons, says Hong Kong theme park

The worlds oldest panda in captivity has been put down at the Hong Kong theme park where she lived, because her health had deteriorated.

Ocean Park said a veterinarian euthanised 38-year-old Jia Jia on Sunday to prevent further suffering and for ethical reasons.

Guinness World Records recognised Jia Jia as the oldest giant panda to live in captivity. The average lifespan for a panda in the wild is 18 to 20 years, while in captivity it is 30, according to Guinness.

Born in the wild, Jia Jia was taken at a wildlife reserves breeding centre in Sichuan province, central China, in 1980, when she was about two.

Jia Jia and another panda, An An, were given to Hong Kong as a gift from Beijing in 1999, on the second anniversary of the citys handover from Britain to China.

Jia Jia had shown signs of poor health in old age, including high blood pressure and arthritis, which required regular medication. Over the past two weeks, the animals condition had worsened significantly, losing significant amounts of weight as she stopped eating.

This is a day we knew would eventually come, but it is nevertheless a sad day for everyone at the park, especially for the parks keepers who took care of her over the years, said Ocean Parks chairman, Leo Kung.

Three other pandas still live at Ocean Park; An An, 30, and Ying Ying and Le Le, both 11.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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