World’s Oldest Panda Celebrates Birthday by ‘Aging Gracefully, Just Like Your Grandma’

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Tune in next week on Food Network to see how you too can impress friends with a giant birthday cake made out of cocktail mixers. Photo: PHILIPPE LOPEZ

Jia Jia, a giant panda living at an animal theme park in Hong Kong, turned 37 today.

Her presents included two Guinness World Records — she is the oldest giant panda to ever live in captivity and the oldest giant panda currently in captivity — and a “cake” that was actually just a big block of ice flavored with grenadine and mint syrup so her old taste buds would notice it was a treat. There was a surprise apple in the center of the ice, and she munched on bamboo sticks as an appetizer. 

She took a break from eating to show off her skills for any companies interested in hiring a spokesperson or model for giant-block-of-ice-cake ads. 

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Photo: PHILIPPE LOPEZ

The humans caring for her — who did not win any medals that day or become centenarians in panda years — probably made Jia Jia jealous by eating a far superior ice-cream cake shaped like a panda. 

The average life expectancy for a panda is 25 years. The panda Jia Jia beat in the record books, Du Du, died in 1999. 

A veterinarian told The Guardian that Jia Jia, who suffers from high blood pressure, cataracts, and has to take a fiber supplement, “is aging gracefully, just like your grandma.” According to CNN, her days are spent doing “small puzzles, climbing up and down a hill, and rolling around with toys.” Based on footage of Bao Bao, a much younger panda at the National Zoo, she has probably adhered to the same strict schedule of rolling around and climbing hills for the past 37 years.