The world's oldest panda in captivity has died


The world's oldest panda living in captivity has died.

Jia Jia was born in the wild but rescued as a young cub and taken to a giant panda breeding center in China.

RELATED: Photos of Jia Jia, the world's oldest panda

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Jia Jia the oldest panda
'Jia Jia', a panda from China, bites some bamboo leaves in its enclosure during the official opening at the River Safari in Singapore on November 28, 2012. Two giant pandas, aged four and five-years old and on loan from China for 10 years to the Wildlife Reserve Singapore (WRS), will make their official public appearance on November 29. AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
'Jia Jia', a panda from China, rubs its back in its enclosure during a media preview at the River Safari on October 29, 2012. Two giant pandas, aged four and five-years old and on loan from China for 10 years to the Wildlife Reserve Singapore (WRS) - the parent company to the city's Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo, are being housed in a custom-built 1,500 square metre (16,145 square foot) enclosure costing 6.9 million USD within WRS's newest attraction, the River Safari, will open to the public for a special preview on November 29. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
'Jia Jia', a panda from China, is pictured in its enclosure during a media preview at the River Safari on October 29, 2012. Two giant pandas, aged four and five-years old and on loan from China for 10 years to the Wildlife Reserve Singapore (WRS) - the parent company to the city's Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo, are being housed in a custom-built 1,500 square metre (16,145 square foot) enclosure costing 6.9 million USD within WRS's newest attraction, the River Safari, will open to the public for a special preview on November 29. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Jia Jia the giant panda eats at Ocean Park in Hong Kong on April 2, 2012. Ocean Park, which was founded in 1977 and was selected to be one of the World's Most Popular Amusement Parks by Forbes website in 2006, is famous for its giant panda habitat and also for its four-story aquarium. AFP PHOTO / AARON TAM (Photo credit should read aaron tam/AFP/Getty Images)
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She was given to the Ocean Park zoo in Hong Kong as a gift 17 years ago. She became an animal ambassador and was visited by more than 29 million people.

Veterinarians at Ocean Park noticed Jia Jia's failing health about two weeks ago. The team says her condition got worse Sunday morning, and they decided to euthanize her to prevent further suffering.

Pandas typically live to be about 20 years old, but Jia Jia was 38 years old.

Earlier in 2016, giant pandas were downgraded from endangered to vulnerable, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF estimates there are now more than 1,800 pandas living in the wild.

SEE MORE: The Panda Population Is Perking Up, But It Still Has A Long Way To Go

The species' recovery is due in part to multiple giant panda breeding centers and reserves in China, an effort that began in the 1940s. Pandas International estimates there are about 420 pandas living in captivity around the world.

Ocean Park will create a memorial corner for Jia Jia that will open to the public Oct. 22. The park has three other giant pandas, Ying Ying and Le Le, who are both 11 years old, and An An, who is 30 years old.

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