The world’s oldest giant panda in captivity has died aged 38.
Jia Jia, who was around 114-years-old in human years, was put down by vets after falling ill in recent weeks.
The giant panda was euthanised for ‘ethical reasons’ and to ‘prevent suffering’ on Sunday.
She is said to have lost her appetite while being cared for at Ocean Park, an animal theme park in Hong Kong, where had she lived since 1999.
Born in 1978 in the wild in Sichuan, China, Jia Jia – whose name means ‘good’ – was given to Hong Kong in 1999 to mark the semi-autonomous city’s handover by Britain two years earlier.
Lately, she had been eating just 3kg of food per day, down from her usual 10kg. Her average weight dropped from 71kg to about 67kg, the BBC reports.
A statement on the park’s Facebook page added: “This is a day we knew would eventually come, but it is nevertheless a sad day for everyone at the park.”
While the news has saddened many, Jia Jia’s 38 years should be celebrated – the average life expectancy for a giant panda in the wild is below 20 years.
A Chinese government survey in 2014 estimated 1,864 pandas live in the wild, up 17 per cent from 2003.