HONG KONG -
Jia Jia, the world’s oldest living panda in captivity, was euthanized Sunday. She was 38.
Jia Jia, who celebrated her birthday in August, started showing signs of poor health recently and her condition deteriorated in the last two weeks, according to officials at Ocean Park, the facility in China that cared for her since 1999.
"This is a day we knew would eventually come,” Ocean Park's chairman, Leo Kung, said in a release. “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.”
The average life of a panda in the wild is about 20 years; in captivity, they can live to more than 30 years.
Jia Jia was born in the wild and rescued in 1980 from China’s Sichuan province, then taken to the Giant Panda Breeding Center at Wolong Nature Reserve.
She and a male panda, An An, were given to Hong Kong as a gift from Beijing in 1999.
An An, 30, is the second oldest male panda in the world. He is also starting to show signs of old age, including high blood pressure and arthritis.
Two other pandas, Ying Ying and Le Le, both 11, also are at the reserve.