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Hong Kong giant panda Jia Jia becomes oldest ever

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By Euronews
Hong Kong giant panda Jia Jia becomes oldest ever

Giant panda Jia Jia celebrates her 37-year-old birthday at the Hong Kong Ocean Park.

Jia Jia, the oldest giant panda living in captivity, set a Guinness World Records title for “Oldest Panda Living in Captivity” on Tuesday, with her age said to put her on par with a human centenarian.

Jia Jia was born in the wild in Sichuan, China in 1978 and was given to Hong Kong in 1999 to mark the semi-autonomous city’s handover by Britain two years earlier.

The previous record was held by a male panda called Du Du, who was also caught in the wild and died in July 1999 at the age of 36 in a zoo in China’s Hubei Province.

Vet Paolo Martelli said Jia Jia was still “moving about” though she suffered from cataracts and high blood pressure.

“She is sleeping more, so is doing everything less. But she is ageing gracefully, just like your grandma,” he said.

Because she eats less bamboo she relies on fibre supplements, Martelli added.

Jia Jia, whose name translates as “excellence”, picked at fruit slices and bamboo around the ice cake to celebrate her big day.

There are fewer than 2,000 pandas now left in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund, as their habitats have been ravaged by development.