Hong Kong mourns world’s old­est cap­tive gi­ant panda

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

VIS­I­TORS to a Hong Kong theme park mourned the world’s old­est cap­tive gi­ant panda Jia Jia yes­ter­day, a day af­ter she died there aged 38.

Jia Jia was put down at Ocean Park on Oc­to­ber 16 af­ter her health rapidly wors­ened and left her un­able to walk with­out dif­fi­culty, the park said.

Yes­ter­day there were two buck­ets of flow­ers out­side the panda en­clo­sure and a sign com­mem­o­rat­ing Jia Jia’s death.

“Jia Jia was a mem­ber of the Ocean Park fam­ily who had spent 17 won­der­ful years with Hong Kong peo­ple and she will be deeply missed,” the sign said.

Vis­i­tors ex­pressed sad­ness at the news.

“She was just lovely. So nat­u­ral. She was just beau­ti­ful,” said one el­derly vis­i­tor at the park with her grand­daugh­ter.

An­other vis­i­tor who gave her name as Ap­ple said she was dis­ap­pointed.

“I was wait­ing to see the panda ... [I] didn’t know the panda had died al­ready.”

In a com­mem­o­ra­tive video from Ocean Park, those who had worked with Jia Jia mourned her loss.

“I wish her to rest in peace and know how much we ap­pre­ci­ate all that she has given to us, to the peo­ple of Hong Kong and all our vis­i­tors,” said Suzanne Gen­dron, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of zoo­log­i­cal op­er­a­tions and ed­u­ca­tion at the park, speak­ing on the memo­rial video.

The park has said it will set up a “memo­rial cor­ner” for Jia Jia in time for the week­end.

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

In July 2015 the gi­ant panda was pre­sented with a tow­er­ing birth­day cake made from ice and fruit juice with the num­ber 37 carved on top.

Jia Jia, whose name trans­lates as “ex­cel­lence”, picked at fruit slices and bam­boo around the ice cake to cel­e­brate her big day as a record­break­ing bear – be­com­ing the old­est panda ever liv­ing in cap­tiv­ity.

There are fewer than 2000 pan­das now left in the wild, ac­cord­ing to the World Wildlife Fund, as their habi­tats have been rav­aged by de­vel­op­ment.

Given their low birthrate, cap­tive breed­ing pro­grammes have be­come key to en­sur­ing their sur­vival.

Ac­cord­ing to Ocean Park, Jia Jia gave birth five times to six cubs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.