HONG KONG - The oldest giant panda living in captivity is set to challenge the world record for the animals' longevity, with her age said to put her on par with a human centenarian.
Hong Kong's giant panda Jia Jia, whose name means "good", will turn 37 this summer at theme park Ocean Park, matching the Guinness World Records title for the oldest panda survivor in captivity - Du Du, who died in 1999, aged 37.
"It is rare for pandas to live to this age," said Grant Abel, the park's director of animal care. "It's probably equivalent to someone, a human person, who would be over a hundred years of age."
Jia Jia's caregivers say they are considering sending an application to Guinness World Records after the celebration of her birthday, which is observed in summer, although the exact date is not known, as she was captured in the wild.
Born in China in 1978, Jia Jia was gifted to Hong Kong in 1999, along with another panda, to mark the second anniversary of the city's handover from former colonial ruler Britain.
She weighs 80 kg and is considered to be in remarkably good health for her age, even though her vision is severely impaired and her hearing has deteriorated, says Paolo Martelli, the park's chief veterinarian.