HONG KONG – Not everything is black and white in the world of pandas, but July 28, 2015 is unequivocally a very special day.
It’s the day Jia Jia, a popular resident at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park turned 37-years-old — that’s more than 100 in human years.
To mark the occasion, she was awarded not one, but two Guinness World Record titles.
The giant panda was recognized for simultaneously being the oldest panda ever in captivity and the oldest panda still living in captivity.
Born in 1978, Jia Jia has far exceeded the average panda life expectancy of 25 years.
Ocean Park chief veterinarian Paolo Martelli says adaptability, comfortable surroundings and access to meds have all helped Jia Jia push the panda envelope.
Plus, he says, she’s made of the right stuff.
“Some animals are part of a good stock, and we can assume that Jia Jia got lucky in her genetic make up.”
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.
They also keep tabs on her high blood pressure (apparently a common health problem among pandas).
Jia Jia was presented with a cake of ice soaked with grenadine, mint syrup surrounding an apple — all designed to appeal to her relatively strong sense of smell.
Meanwhile, humans at the park celebrated by devouring a panda-shaped cake made from ice cream.