Ocean Park today celebrates the birthday of its four endearing giant pandas, An An, Jia Jia, Ying Ying and Le Le. Specially made ice birthday cakes were presented to Ying Ying and Le Le, both eight years old, while An An and Jia Jia, at the age of 27 and 35 respectively, savoured longevity noodles.
“We are very pleased to witness and be a part of the growth of our beloved giant pandas, which take up the important role of connecting people with nature. Jia Jia, now the oldest living giant panda under human care in the world, is a great testament to our longstanding devotion to world-class animal care,” said Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park. “We wish her, as well as An An, Ying Ying, Le Le and all the other animal ambassadors in the Park, a happy and healthy long life, and we urge you to come send your good wishes to them as well by visiting them at the Park this summer!”
Ms. Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education, said, “Ying Ying and Le Le have fully matured to become young adults, and have concluded their third mating season earlier this summer. Since Ying Ying’s artificial insemination procedure in July, the Park has been closely monitoring her condition, and hopes to observe signs of pregnancy as early as October to November this year. While An An and Jia Jia experience high blood pressure, a common condition among older giant pandas, they remain in good health under the care of the Park’s professional keeper and veterinarian teams.”
The giant pandas have enabled Ocean Park Academy, the Park’s education arm, to offer seven panda-related educational programmes to students from kindergartens to secondary schools as well as to the general public. More than 110,000 people have taken part in these programmes to learn about the importance of panda conservation starting from 1999.
In addition to student and public programmes, education interpretives are also placed throughout the giant panda exhibits to advocate the conservation of the species and their habitats. An independent survey conducted by Consumer Search Group in November to December 2012 shows that 88% of respondents agreed they have become more knowledgeable on conservation after visiting the Ocean Park’s Giant Panda Adventure attraction, and that 92% of respondents agreed their beliefs and attitude about animals and the environment have been positively impacted after their visits.
In addition to dedicating the Park’s efforts to taking the best care of the giant pandas and to instil conservation awareness among students and the general public, Ocean Park has also endeavoured to support conservation of giant pandas in the wild by donating HK$1 from each paid admission and contributing a portion of gross proceeds from all panda-related souvenirs to the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong. Since 1999, Ocean Park has donated over $21 million to support OPCFHK’s over 70 giant panda scientific research and conservation projects. In the coming fiscal year of 2013/14, another $1.5 million is expected to be committed by OPCFHK to support 9 new giant panda projects in China.
Finally, Ocean Park continues to support the Hong Kong SAR Government by acting as the honourary technical advisor to their Wolong Earthquake Rebuilding Project. The Park assists in the design and building of the Giant Panda Conservation and Disease Control Centre in Dujiangyan, Sichuan, as well as the development of its related education programmes.
1. The exact birthdays of An An and Jia Jia are unknown, as they are rescued from the wild.
2. The birthdays of Ying Ying and Le Le are 16 August and 8 August respectively.
*Special thanks to Häagen-Dazs for sponsoring the ice birthday cakes for Ying Ying and Le Le.