Hong Kong panda becomes world’s oldest while Taipei panda fakes pregnancy for perks

By THAT'S, July 29, 2015

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Given that Jia Jia is pushing 100 (in panda years) she still looks good. Now housed in Hong Kong’s Ocean Park panda habitat, Jia Jia was first captured in the jungle way back in 1978. While her exact date of birth is unknown (wild animals aren’t particularly precise with their birth certificates) she was recognized on Tuesday as the world's longest-living panda and served a delicious-looking vegetable to cake to mark the occasion.

Based on her estimated birthday, Jia Jia turned 37 yesterday – ousting Du Du, the previous ‘oldest panda’ record holder, who died in 1999.

The years haven’t been easy on Jia Jia. While her coat still looks quite healthy, not all is well on the inside – Jia Jia’s vision is severely impaired, she can’t hear particularly well and she has high blood pressure.

That said, for an animal who is the oldest ever recorded for its species, that’s not too bad. Jia Jia was gifted to Hong Kong from the Mainland in 1999 and, with any luck, will live to see her 20th year on the island.

Yuan Yuan enjoys her birthday cake

Meanwhile, in Taipei, hopes that the survival-challenged species would gain another member were dashed when panda experts flown in from the Mainland discovered that 11-year-old Taipei Zoo resident Yuan Yuan (above), who was artificially inseminated in May, has been faking a pregnancy.

Experts believe that cunning pandas mimic signs of carrying a cub, such as a loss of appetite, in order to secure pampered living conditions that resemble a 5-star hotel.  

Now that Yuan Yuan has been busted, she won’t get the private, air-conditioned room and 24-hour room service delivering extra fruit and bamboo that she enjoyed two years ago when pregnant with her first and only cub Yuan Zai.

Better luck next time, Yuan Yuan.

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