Giant pandas are somewhat of a staple in the animal kingdom. It’s one of the first species that comes to mind when you think of animal conservation, because the species is in the logo for the World Wildlife Fund and was of the endangered status for the longest time before being downgraded to vulnerable status thanks to powerful conservation efforts.
It’s unfortunate that these cute things can’t live forever, but the circle of life affects every species in the world, including giant pandas. This month, a famous giant panda named Jia Jia was the victim of this cycle.
Image Credit: Ocean Park Hong Kong/Facebook
Indeed, the world’s oldest known panda in captivity, confirmed by Guinness World Records, has passed away on Sunday, October 16th. According to Ocean Park, the facility in Hong Kong that was caring for her, Jia Jia’s health was declining and there was nothing they could do about it to ease her pain.
As a result, the park decided it was in her best interest to be euthanized to prevent any further suffering.
“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,” Ocean Park said in a statement on Facebook.
“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).”
While most giant pandas live approximately 20 years, Jia Jia was 38 years old; nearly twice that age. She lived a great long life and was the friend of all workers at Ocean Park. The park will certainly miss her company and tending to her on a daily basis.
A video celebrating Jia Jia’s life and reflecting on the good memories she left with park employees has been published on the park’s official YouTube channel: