PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images(HONG KONG) — Jia Jia, a giant panda believed to have been the oldest in captivity, has died at 38 years old, officials said Sunday.
The giant panda’s health had deteriorated in the past two weeks, according to Ocean Park in Hong Kong, and Jia Jia had trouble walking Sunday, spending the day laying down.
Because of her debilitated state, park officials and veterinarians made the decision to euthanize the panda at her home in Ocean Park since 1999, “based on ethical reasons and in order to prevent suffering.”
“This is a day we knew would eventually come, but it is nevertheless a sad day for everyone at the Park, especially for the Park’s keepers who took care of her over the years,” Ocean Park Chairman Leo Kung said in a statement. “Since Jia Jia arrived Hong Kong with An An in 1999, she has been educating the public about the importance of wildlife conservation and she was loved by visitors from around the world.”
In July 2015, Ocean Park held a large celebration to mark Jia Jia’s 37th birthday when she set two Guiness World Records titles, and reached the equivalent in age to 111 human years.
Pandas can live up to 30 years in captivity, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature, and up to 20 years in the wild.
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.