World’s oldest captive panda dies aged 35 in Hong Kong

meHis name was An An. The world’s oldest captive panda died on Thursday at the age of 35, Agence France Presse reports. The animal had spent most of its life in the Hong Kong Zoo.

An An’s health had been deteriorating for several weeks. The panda’s physical activity and appetite had plummeted. Last Thursday morning, veterinarians euthanized him.

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If An An had been human, he would be 105 years old when he expired. The park where the panda lived said the “difficult decision” to euthanize him was made for welfare reasons in consultation with Chinese experts.

A diplomatic gift

The animal, which was born in the wild in Sichuan, a province in mainland China, was offered by Beijing along with his companion Jia Jia to Hong Kong to mark the second anniversary of the city’s handover to Britain in 1999. Pandas are a diplomatic gift in Beijing.

Upon their arrival, Tung Chee-hwa, the city’s chief executive at the time, said that their words would inspire Hong Kong to be stable (An) and successful (Jia).

Both pandas spent the rest of their lives in Ocean Park. Jia Jia, meanwhile, held the Guinness World Records for oldest living panda and oldest living panda in captivity when she died. She died at the age of 38 in 2016.

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Lifespan in the wild ranges from 14 to 20 years

An An had thus celebrated his 35th birthday alone with ice fruit and bamboo cake. All this along with several birthday cards made by park staff.

A wild panda lives an average of 14 to 20 years, according to WWF, an organization that protects endangered species.

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Darell Goodwin

"Beer fanatic. Tv evangelist. General music specialist. Coffee lover. Social media fan. Friendly travel practitioner."

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