World's oldest panda Jia Jia dies in Hong Kong - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

World's oldest panda Jia Jia dies in Hong Kong

Posted: Updated:
(NBC) -

The world's oldest giant panda in captivity has died in Hong Kong. 

The panda's owners Ocean Park said 38-year-old Jia Jia was euthanized Sunday after rapidly deteriorating health over the past two weeks. 

"In the last day especially, she was unable to walk without difficulties," said Suzanne Gendron, Ocean Park Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education. "She slept quite a bit. She was no longer eating or drinking for the last few days of the week very much. In the last day not at all. So there was no medication that we could give her to cure old age, would cure the things that were ailing her. And ethically we felt, and we worked with AFCD, Agriculture and Fisheries here in Hong Kong, and the government, to determine this was a humane endpoint." 

Jia Jia had been 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. 

According to the world wildlife fund, pandas are endangered because most of their natural habitat has been destroyed for timber, farming and construction.

A Chinese Government survey in 2014 estimated that nearly 1,900 pandas live in the wild, up 17 percent from 2003. 

One student said Hong Kong should focus on conservation. 

"So Jia Jia was a part of Hong Kong's community right?" said S.Q. Mah, Hong Kong student. "So the death, the passing of Jia Jia has repercussions. It's been on the media, it's been talked about a lot. So I think what it means to Hong Kong is that we should start understanding and treasuring what we have. Because yes, they are animals but they die in the end and they are not here forever." 

Ocean Park still houses the world's second oldest male panda, 30-year-old An An and hopes its other two pandas will soon produce an offspring. 

Powered by Frankly