RIP: Oldest-ever male giant panda in captivity dies

The oldest-ever male giant panda in captivity has died aged 35.An An, pictured in 2015, was gifted to the theme park by China in 1999. Pic: AP

An An lived most of his life at a theme park in Hong Kong after he and a female panda were gifted by China in 1999.

The female panda, Jia Jia, died in 2016 at the age of 38, making her the oldest-ever female panda in captivity.

Ocean Park theme park mourned An An as a family member who 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.

An An had high blood pressure, a common condition among geriatric pandas. Over the past three weeks, 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.

Last week, hundreds left comments on a social media post about An An’s condition, wishing him a speedy recovery.

He was euthanised to prevent further suffering on Thursday morning after veterinarians from Ocean Park and government authorities consulted the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda.

“An An lived a full life that ended at the respectable age of 35 – the equivalent of 105 years in human age,” Ocean Park said.

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.

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