To find something more heartwarming than a portrait of a panda with a birthday cake would be awfully hard; but the image gets even sweeter when you know the back story.
The panda here is a very special panda named Jia Jia, an elder of the panda world who recently celebrated her 37th birthday at Ocean Park in Hong Kong. Jia Jia set the Guinness World Records for being “oldest panda ever in captivity,” as well as the “oldest panda living in captivity.”
Although 37 in humansyears isn’t even middle age, it is a quite a feat in the scope of the pandalife span. Jia Jia in her 37th year is the equivalentof a 110 year old human and even as an elder has much life and bright future ofmany more lively years.
The previous recordholder for the oldest panda in captivity was an individual born in 1962 and hisname was, (no, I’m not kidding) Dudu. Hepassed to the other side in 1999 at the age of 36. This is especially unusual as the averagecaptive life span of pandas is only 18-20 years, making the lifespans of bothDudu and Jia Jia amazing.
Beloved by the parkcaretakers, Jia Jia’s birthday was honored with the gift of a homemade cakecreated of ice and vegetables and you can see in the images that grandmother JiaJia dug right in, perhaps in celebration of her own prolific life.
Though the elder pandaenjoyed her birthday cake, she naturally showed more interest in her native andfavorite dish- bamboo.
Jia Jia was born in 1978and was a gift to Hong Kong in 1999 in celebration of the second anniversary ofBritain giving control of the city back to China. In the course of her long life, Jia Jia hasgiven birth to six children, four of whom are still alive and well.
All Images Courtesy guinessworldrecords.com