Sad tally of creatures lost

Top News | Sophie Hui 14 Dec 2017

Ocean Park lost of more than 800 animals last year, including giant panda Jia Jia, who had to be put to sleep.

The park's 2016/17 annual report shown that untilJune 30this year, it had 7,807 animals, a sharp decrease of 28 percent from the 10,843 the previous year.

A total of 884 animals died, 83 more than last year, mainly due to aging or disease. The animals that perished included two marine mammals, nine terrestrial mammals, 39 birds, five reptiles, 17 amphibians and 812 fish.

Among them was Jia Jia, known as one of "the most adorable animal ambassadors at Ocean Park." Jia Jia, who broke the record for being the world's oldest giant panda under human care, died onOctober 16last year at the age of 38, which is equivalent to 114 years for a human.

The park decided to put Jia Jia to sleep after her condition deteriorated. The female giant panda arrived Hong Kong with another male panda, An An, in 1999 as presents from the central government.

The park said Jia Jia "played a central role in educating the public on the importance of wildlife conservation and was loved by visitors from around the world."

The park conserved Jia Jia's biological samples for research and retained her skeleton and teeth for veterinary science and education.

Other deaths included two California sea lions that were born at the park and died aged 27 and 29. Both had outlived their life expectancies.

Meanwhile, 179 animals were born at the park, including three spotted seals, a harbor seal, a southern two-toed sloth, a Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey and two king penguins.

The park made 320 acquisitions, including a male koala borrowed from Osaka Tennoji Zoo in Japan.

And two northern sea lions were sent to an aquarium in Spain.

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