Jia Jia’s fur will warm new generation of giant pandas at Ocean Park

Ashes of other remains will be stored next to the enclosure at Ocean Park where she lived

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2016, 9:04pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 November, 2016, 9:50am

The remains of Jia Jia – the world’s oldest giant panda who was put to sleep last month at the age of 38 – will be used for scientific research, education and conservation, Ocean Park said yesterday.

Instead of being disposed of, Jia Jia’s biological samples will be preserved for histopathology research. Her skeleton, including the skull and teeth, will be retained for veterinary science education and studies, the park announced.

“Over the past 17 years, Jia Jia played an important role as one of our animal ambassadors that supported the park’s mission to inspire and educate the public,” Suzanne Gendron, executive director of zoological operations and education, said.

Park advisor Wang Chengdong, the director of veterinary service of Wolong, added: “Her fur will be placed inside incubators to keep newborn pandas warm, and familiarise them with the [coat] of an adult panda as they are unable to crawl and see during the first two months after birth.”

To mark Jia Jia’s legacy, a memorial tree will be planted along with the ashes of her remaining body parts next to where she lived in the park – at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures enclosure.

The park said the arrangement was a joint decision by the government – the only shareholder of the park – and the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda in Wolong, where Jia Jia came from.

The beloved panda was a mother of six before she was sent to Hong Kong as a gift from the central government in 1999, along with An An, the world’s second oldest male panda in captivity. Jia Jia is survived by her progeny, which includes up to 17 offspring all located on the mainland.