Meet Jia Jia.
She’s a giant panda living at a theme park in Hong Kong, and she’s about to become the oldest panda to ever live in captivity in history. The current Guinness World Record title belongs to a panda named Du Du who died at age 37 back in 1999.
Jia Jia already holds the current record for being the oldest panda in captivity today, and this summer she’ll match Du Du’s record by turning 37. And Jia Jia’s caregivers say she’s in great condition.
Jia Jia was born 1978 in the wild in China. She was later captured, and in 1999 was sent to Hong Kong as a gift.
Right now, she lives at Ocean Park, a theme park in Hong Kong. The park's animal facility is the only one outside of the Americas recognised for its superior animal care by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
For a panda, turning 37 is a remarkable achievement. 'It is rare for pandas to live to this age,' Grant Abel, the park's director of animal care, told Reuters. 'It's probably equivalent to someone (a human) who would be over a hundred years old.' Jia Jia does have some conditions that naturally come with age, but her caregivers say she's in great health. Here she is happily munching on some bamboo.
The average life expectancy for a giant panda is about 20 years. At 36 years old, Jia Jia's vision is severely impaired and her hearing isn't what it used to be.
Jia Jia usually avoids the exhibition area. Instead, she prefers to stay in the back where she eats mostly bamboo shoots. A giant panda in the wild will consume between 20 and 40 pounds of bamboo each day.
Bamboo shoots provide pandas with many of the nutrients they need, but Jia Jia also enjoys fruit and high-fibre bread to keep her going.
The park's chief veterinarian, Paolo Martelli, told media that it's hard to predict how much longer Jia Jia will live. At nearly 37 years old, though, she's still enjoying climbing the tall trunk in her backyard.
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