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Business News/ News / World/  World's oldest giant panda 'An An' dies at 35

The world's oldest male giant panda died in a zoo in Hong Kong on Friday. The panda, named An An, was euthanised at the age of 35, the equivalent of 105 years for humans.

An An panda lived most of his life at Ocean Park after he and a female panda were gifted to Hong Kong by China in 1999. He and his mate Jia Jia spent the rest of their lives in Ocean Park.

They were a venerable pair -- Jia Jia held the Guinness World Records for the oldest living panda and oldest panda ever in captivity when she died at the age of 38 in 2016. After Jia Jia's death, her surviving mate led a rather solitary life -- in 2021, he celebrated his 35th birthday alone with a Haagen-Dazs fruit and bamboo ice cake, surrounded by a number of handmade birthday cards from the Park's staff.

Over the past three weeks, An An had high blood pressure, a common condition among geriatric pandas. An An had been kept out of sight from visitors at the park as his health worsened. He stopped eating solid food and was significantly less active in recent days.

Ocean Park mourned An An as a family member who grew with the park and built bonds with locals and tourists.

“An An has brought us fond memories with numerous heart-warming moments. His cleverness and playfulness will be dearly missed," Paulo Pong, chairman of Ocean Park Corporation, said in a statement. “An An lived a full life that ended at the respectable age of 35 – the equivalent of 105 years in human age," the zoo said in a statement.

Hong Kong was given 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 commonly engages in “panda diplomacy" where the mammals exclusively found in China are leased to other countries as a sign of goodwill.

A panda's average life span in the wild is 14-20 years, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They are notoriously bad at reproducing, especially in captivity. Pandas are categorised as "vulnerable" by WWF with a record of 1,864 living in the wild.

(With agencies input)

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Updated: 22 Jul 2022, 09:26 AM IST
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