The oldest male giant panda in captivity has died at the age of 35 in a Hong Kong theme park after his health deteriorated.
An An lived most of his life in Ocean Park after he and a panda female were given away in Hong Kong by China in 1999. The panda female, Jia Jia, died in 2016 at the age of 38, becoming -la in the largest female panda in captivity. .
Ocean Park mourned An An as a family member who grew up with the park and created bonds with locals and tourists alike.
“An An has brought us fond memories with numerous touching moments. His intelligence and joy will be greatly missed,” Paulo Pong, president of Ocean Park Corporation, said in a statement.
An had high blood pressure, a common condition among geriatric pandas. For the past three weeks, An An had remained out of sight of park visitors as her health deteriorated. He stopped eating solid foods and was significantly less active in recent days.
Last week, hundreds of people left comments in an Ocean Park post about An An’s state, wishing him a speedy recovery.
He was sacrificed to avoid further suffering Thursday morning after Ocean Park veterinarians and government authorities consulted the China Conservation and Research Center for the giant panda, Ocean Park said.
“An An lived a full life that ended at the respectable age of 35, the equivalent of 105 years of human age,” the statement says.
Hong Kong hosted another panda pair, Ying Ying, a female and a male, Le Le, in 2007 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the city’s return to China.
China usually participates in “panda diplomacy” where mammals found exclusively in China are leased to other countries as a sign of goodwill.