We can’t call giant panda Jia Jia the oldest panda in the world, because there are around 1,600 wild pandas roaming around out there. We can, however, salute her new title as “Oldest Panda Living in Captivity,” which she does at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park. She’s 37* today and that “cake” is made of flavored ice**.
Jia Jia, whose name means “excellence,” bests the previous record-holder, who died in 1999 at age 36 (the average life span of a panda is 25 years). So she is not only the oldest panda living in captivity at present, she is the oldest-ever panda to live in captivity. A vet at the park reports “She is sleeping more, so is doing everything less. But she is aging gracefully, just like your grandma.”
Jia Jia spends her days solving small puzzles, climbing up and down a hill, and rolling around with toys. Her activities are quite advanced compared to other aging pandas. Park workers say they strive to keep Jia Jia mentally stimulated so she continues to be interested in her surroundings.
*Approximately 110 in giant panda years.
** With an apple surprise hidden in the center!
AP Photo by Kin Cheung