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Ocean Park Plants Gingko Tree in Honour of Giant Panda Jia Jia A Living Memorial to Extend A Remarkable Life

2016-12-16

A tree-planting ceremony was held at Ocean Park today in honour of Jia Jia, the world’s oldest giant panda ever under human care who passed away two months ago. A gingko tree has been planted at the entrance of Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures, the place where Jia Jia used to reside, as a way to extend her celebrated life with another new, beautiful life. The ceremony, which was simple yet solemn, was officiated by: Petty Lai, Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (Recreation and Sport); Dr Shirley Chuk,  Senior Veterinary Officer (Animal Health) for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department; Matthias Li, Chief Executive of Ocean Park; Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director, Zoological Operations and Education of Ocean Park; and Howard Chuk, Senior Curator of Terrestrial Life Sciences of Ocean Park.

During the tree-planting ceremony, Matthias Li, Chief Executive of Ocean Park said, “Even though Jia Jia has left us, her contributions on conservation and scientific research will last. To commemorate Jia Jia’s contributions, we plant a gingko tree at the entrance of her past habitat and scattered her ashes in the soil under the tree. Gingko tree, or Ginkgo biloba,  is the only surviving plant order under the ancient Ginkgophyta division and botanists consider Gingko trees the ‘living fossils’ amongst the botanical world. In addition, gingko trees symbolise health, longevity and fructiferous. In Jia Jia’s hometown, Tangjiahe, Qingchuan County, Guangyuan City, Sichuan Province, there is a famous gingko tree which has been living for over one thousand years. Therefore, we believe that planting a gingko tree is the most appropriate option to honour the remarkable life of the long-lived ‘Mother Hero’ Jia Jia.”