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The longest living male giant panda in captivity An An dies at the age of 35

#longest #living #male #giant #panda #captivity #dies #age

The world’s longest-living male giant panda in human care, An An, has died at the age of 35, Hong Kong Zoo, where he spent most of his life, said on Thursday.

An An’s health had deteriorated in recent weeks, with a sharp drop in physical activity and appetite, and he was euthanized by veterinarians early Thursday morning, the amusement park and zoo Ocean Park said in a statement.

The park said it is 105 in human-years and “the difficult decision to euthanize it was made for welfare reasons in consultation with Chinese experts.”

Born in the wilderness of Sichuan province in mainland China, An An was one of a pair of pandas gifted to Hong Kong by Beijing to celebrate the second anniversary of the city’s surrender from Britain in 1999.

He and his sidekick Jia Jia spent the rest of their lives at Ocean Park.

They were a venerable couple – Jia Jia held the Guinness World Records for oldest living panda and oldest panda ever in captivity when she died in 2016 at the age of 38.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the average lifespan of a panda in the wild is 14 to 20 years.

After Jia Jia’s death, her surviving companion led a rather lonely life – in 2021 he celebrated his 35th birthday alone with a Häagen-Dazs fruit and bamboo ice cream cake surrounded by a series of handmade birthday cards from the park’s staff.

– Political Animals –

Pandas are a popular diplomatic gift from Beijing, and An An and Jia Jia enjoyed a fair amount of political influence for zoo residents.

When they first arrived in the city, then-CEO Tung Chee-hwa said their names inspired Hong Kong to be stable (An) and achieve great (Jia).

And when news of An An’s loss of appetite broke last week, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee called Ocean Park to express his concern.

Ocean Park has placed books of condolence in the exhibition hall where An An lived.

Within an hour of the park announcing its death, hundreds of tributes appeared under the social media post.

“Thank you for all the happiness you have brought us over so many years,” user Tang Cc wrote.

“I really can’t accept your death, but I can’t see you suffer either. I will miss you,” said user Tuan Yuan Panda.

Hong Kong has another panda pair – Ying Ying and Le Le – which were gifted from Beijing in 2007.

They recently made headlines for showing mating behavior after nearly a decade of disinterest during the pandemic.

Pandas are notoriously bad at reproducing, especially in captivity.

They are classified as “Vulnerable” by the WWF with a record 1,864 animals living in the wild.

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#longest #living #male #giant #panda #captivity #dies #age

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