Ocean Park Celebrates Jia Jia Sets Guinness World Records™ Title For “Oldest Panda Ever In Captivity”
Ocean Park today celebrated the birthday of its four giant pandas and invited Mr. Blythe Ryan Fitzwiliam, Adjudicator of GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™, to announce on-site that female giant panda Jia Jia, who is turning 37 years old , has set two GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ titles for the longevity of giant pandas under human care. Jia Jia has been officially recognised as “Oldest panda ever in captivity” and “Oldest panda living in captivity”. Another male giant panda, An An, who will soon turn 29 , is the world’s second oldest living male giant panda under human care. The younger giant panda Ying Ying, who participated in the National Giant Panda Breeding Programme this year for the first time, had returned from Sichuan on 25 July 2015. In celebration of these remarkable milestones, Mrs. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Secretary for Administration; Dr. Ko Wing-man, Secretary for Food and Health; Miss Petty Lai, Principal Assistant Secretary (Recreation and Sport Division) for Home Affairs; Mr. Li Desheng, Deputy Director of Sichuan Wolong National Nature Reserve Administration; and Mr. Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park, took part in the giant pandas’ birthday party with 200 local senior citizens and their caregivers from Helping Hand.
To celebrate the birthday of the four giant pandas, Jia Jia setting two GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ titles, as well as to promote the culture of respecting and caring for the elderly, four companions of each visiting senior can enjoy a 30% discount on regular admission tickets during August. As part of the celebration, the Park has also introduced an elderly friendly healthy panda-themed menu, which has been endorsed by a professional dietitian. Furthermore, all Hong Kong residents born in the month of August can enjoy free admission on any one day during their birthday month to celebrate their birthdays with the giant pandas, and up to four companions can receive 30% off on regular admission tickets.
Jia Jia and An An, soon to be 37 and 29 years old respectively, were gifted to Hong Kong by the China Central Government in 1999. Since then, they have been living in the care of Ocean Park. Over the last 16 years, many Hong Kong people, young and old, have come to Ocean Park to see their giant pandas Jia Jia and An An, and learn about pandas and conservation. Including tourists, close to 27 million visitors have visited Jia Jia and An An ever since their arrival. Since 2005, more than 117,000 students have taken the giant panda-related educational programme at the Park. According to the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™, the previous longevity record for giant panda was set by female giant panda Du Du. Similar to Jia Jia, Du Du was rescued from the wild and she passed away on 22 July 1999 just short of reaching 37. Adjudicator of GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™, Mr. Blythe Ryan Fitzwiliam, was on-site to verify and confirm Jia Jia’s record. During the celebration, Mr. Fitzwiliam said, “I am glad to be at Ocean Park Hong Kong today to officially announce that the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ titles for the longevity of giant pandas under human care have been set by Jia Jia. She has now been recognised as “Oldest panda ever in captivity” and “Oldest panda living in captivity”. Giant pandas are undoubtedly one of the Earth’s most endangered and well-known species. Thanks to the attentive care of the Park for the past 16 years, Jia Jia has set a new longevity record. I wish her continuing happiness and good health.”
Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration, remarked that, “Thanks to the care given by the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan and Ocean Park, An An and Jia Jia are enjoying a healthy life in their sunset years.”
Mr. Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park, said, “We strive to provide the best possible care to our animal ambassadors, from the day they are born or arrive at the Park until their golden years. It gives us tremendous pride that Hong Kong Ocean Park is now the home of the world’s oldest ever giant panda and the world’s second oldest male giant panda under human care. A lot of credit goes to our dedicated animal care team, which has continued to benefit from the advice and guidance of experts in Sichuan through their regular visits to the Park.”
Mr. Leo Kung added, “To inspire respect for the elderly among the public, Ocean Park invited over 200 seniors along with their caregivers from Helping Hand to join our celebration. They are also treated to priority access at various attractions to meet our other animal ambassadors at the Park today. Over the years, all Hong Kong senior citizens aged 65 or above have been enjoying free admission to the Park all year round. During August, four companions of each visiting senior can even enjoy a 30% discount on regular admission tickets. Besides, in hopes that all seniors can live and eat well, the Park has, for the first time, introduced a senior-friendly, low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar and high-fibre panda-themed menu, which has been endorsed by a professional dietitian. What’s more, all Hong Kong residents born in August can enjoy free admission on any one day during their birthday month to celebrate their birthdays with the giant pandas, and up to four companions can receive 30% off on regular admission tickets.”
Dr. Ko Wing-man, Secretary for Food and Health, said, “Our senior citizens certainly deserve our care and respect, as Hong Kong’s success today is built on their hard work in the past. The care from family members and healthy diets are keys to longevity. Should we all spend more time going on outings with our elder family members, encourage them to do exercise regularly, stop smoking and drinking and opt for low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar and high-fibre healthy diets, more senior citizens in Hong Kong will continue to stay healthy and happy in their golden years, just like Jia Jia and An An.”
Ms. Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education of Ocean Park, said, “Given their advanced years, An An and Jia Jia are both in satisfactory health. Jia Jia takes regular medication for various conditions such as high blood pressure and arthritic pain, whereas An An has high blood pressure, which is common for giant pandas around his age. His condition has been successfully kept under control through medication. Our keepers are doing their utmost to ensure the highest quality of life for the giant pandas. Despite her poor eye sight caused by cataracts, Jia Jia can recognise the familiar voices of her carers, some of whom have been with her for as many as 15 years. This gives her a strong sense of security.”
Mr. Li Desheng, Deputy Director of Sichuan Wolong National Nature Reserve Administration, said, “I am delighted to witness Jia Jia set new world records. Ocean Park has been widely recognized for its excellence in caring for aged giant pandas. Over the years, Ocean Park has made significant contributions in elevating standards of panda care, thrice co-organising workshops on aged panda care with the Administration to engage in exchanges with panda caregivers from around the world and share insights and experience. Standards in panda care have been raised in recent years, evidenced by increasing longevity of pandas. We, along with Ocean Park, will continue to take pride in Jia Jia as she extends her GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ every day.”
On the other hand, the younger giant pandas Ying Ying and Le Le are in good health. During Ying Ying’s visit to Sichuan for her participation in the National Giant Panda Breeding Programme, she attempted mating with two of the males for a total of five times and eventually mated once. Ying Ying also received artificial insemination to maximise her chances of pregnancy.
Mr. Li Desheng added, “We are glad that the giant pandas from Hong Kong can support panda conservation by contributing to enhancing the genetic diversity of giant panda cubs reproduced from the National Panda Breeding Programme. We are hopeful that Ying Ying would soon give Hong Kong her first locally born giant panda.”
Ms. Suzanne Gendron added, “We are thrilled to welcome Ying Ying back from her participation in the National Panda Breeding Programme. Since the gestation period for giant pandas lasts between 72 and 324 days, we will continue to closely monitor Ying Ying for signs of pregnancy. If and when pregnancy is suspected, we will work with Wolong experts and its conservation partners to ensure Ying Ying receives the best prenatal care.”
In celebration of their birthday, the four giant pandas enjoyed their favourite icy birthday cakes sponsored by Häagen-Dazs™. What’s more, to promote an elderly friendly culture, the Park will launch in August a healthy panda-themed menu that has been endorsed by a professional dietitian. The menu features Panda Bento Boxes for vegetarians and non-vegetarians respectively, as well as Panda Birthday Cupcake. The Park has also partnered with “The 1600 Pandas Volunteer Team” to offer a papier-mâché panda workshop on selected Sundays this August (9, 16 & 23 August) for guests to create their own papier-mâché pandas, as well as learn about panda conservation and concept of sustainability. Besides celebrating with the giant pandas at the Park, guests can also send a birthday greeting to the giant pandas through a specially created section on Ocean Park’s homepage https://panda.oceanpark.com.hk) from 3 August onwards. Every 50th entry will be awarded a Häagen-Dazs™ coupon while stock lasts.
Ocean Park will also launch a “Summer Nights” promotion* during which the Park will extend its hours of operation to 9:00p.m. on all Saturdays and Sundays during August. Adults and children guests can enjoy a special discounted price of $198 and $99 respectively on these nights when they enter the Park from 4:00p.m. onwards. LINE users who have sent a message with the words “Summer Night” to the “summersplash” official LINE account will receive an e-coupon. Upon presenting the e-coupon at 7-Eleven stores, guests can purchase summer night admission tickets at HK$158 (adult) and HK$79 (child) (a maximum of 4 tickets can be redeemed on a single purchase).
Moreover, guests who purchase or renew a SmartFun Annual Pass from now till 30 August will receive a set of discount coupons for in-park spending. Also, SmartFun Annual Pass holders can enjoy 35% off on selected panda merchandise. In addition, all Hong Kong residents aged 65 or above as well as all SmartFun Annual Pass holders can enjoy approximately 30% off on the new Panda Bento Box at Panda Café during August.
The “Ocean Park” official LINE account users can present a discount e-coupon to redeem the “buy one get one free” offer on the LINE Character set at Neptune’s Restaurant after 3:00p.m. from Monday to Friday during August, and take photos with LINE Friends while enjoying the delicacies.
An Overview of All Special Offers:
- Ocean Park continues to offer free admission for all Hong Kong senior citizens aged 65 or above throughout the year. During August, four companions of each visiting senior can even enjoy a 30% discount on regular admission tickets.
- All Hong Kong residents aged 65 or above as well as all SmartFun Annual Pass holders can enjoy approximately 30% off on the new Panda Bento Box at Panda Café in the afternoon during August.
- All Hong Kong citizens who were born in August are offered free admission on any one day this August and up to four accompanying guests can get 30% off on regular admission tickets.
- SmartFun Annual Pass holders can enjoy 35% off on selected panda merchandise.
- Guests who purchase or renew a SmartFun Annual Pass from now till 30 August will receive a set of discount coupons for in-park spending.
- LINE users who have sent a message with the words “Summer Night” to “summersplash” official LINE account will receive an e-coupon. Upon presenting the e-coupon at 7-Eleven stores, guests can purchase summer night admission tickets at HK$158 (adult) and HK$79 (child) (a maximum of 4 tickets can be redeemed on a single purchase) and receive an exclusive LINE tattoo sticker at turnstile.
- The “Ocean Park” official LINE account users can present a discount e-coupon to redeem the “buy one get one free” offer on the LINE Character set at Neptune’s Restaurant after 3:00p.m. from Monday to Friday during August, and take photos with LINE Friends while enjoying the delicacies.
- The hours of operation during “Summer Nights” will be extended to 9:00p.m. on all Saturdays and Sundays this August (i.e. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30 August). Adult and child guests can enjoy a special discounted price of $198 and $99 respectively to enter the Park on these nights from 4:00p.m. onwards.
*Holders of daytime tickets are entitled to stay in the park until the extended closing time. Nighttime tickets are available at Ocean Park ticket offices, official websites and 7-Eleven stores (now till 30 August). For details, please refer to the latest promotional information from Ocean Park.