Jia Jia, the world's oldest-ever panda in captivity was euthanized Sunday at Ocean Park, the Hong Kong theme park where she lived. A veterinarian put down the 38-year-old panda because her health had deteriorated and to prevent further suffering. Guinness World Records recognized Jia Jia as the oldest giant panda to live in captivity. Born in the wild, Jia Jia was taken to live at a wildlife reserve's breeding center in central China's Sichuan province in 1980, when she was around 2 years old.
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.Leo Kung, Ocean Park's chairman
Three other pandas still live at Ocean Park — 30-year-old An An, and Ying Ying and Le Le, both 11. Jia Jia and An An were given to Hong Kong as a gift from Beijing in 1999, on the second anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China. Pandas, a beloved symbol of China, were long considered one of the world's most endangered animals, although last month a leading international group lowered its classification to "vulnerable."