Ocean Park has announced that the remains of Jia Jia, the world’s oldest giant panda in captivity, who passed away on October 16, will be used for scientific research, veterinary science education and conservation purposes.
In a statement yesterday, the park said that Jia Jia’s biological samples would be preserved for histopathology research, while her skeleton would be retained for veterinary science education and research.
Jia Jia’s fur will also be retained and preserved to assist with the raising of newborn panda cubs in the future. The fur will be placed inside incubators to keep the cubs warm and to help familiarise them with the fur of adult pandas, as they are unable to crawl or see until two months after birth.
The remaining body parts will be cremated and the ashes planted with a memorial tree in a special memorial corner that has been created outside the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures where Jia Jia used to live.
Once an endangered species, the giant panda was recently reclassified as “vulnerable” following collective efforts worldwide to protect it, however experts warn that the ongoing work is required to further protect the animals and their habitat in order to prevent population numbers from slipping.