Hongkongers are in mourning for their beloved An An – the world’s oldest male giant panda in captivity – who was euthanised on Thursday at the age of 35, or 105 in human terms, after his worsening health prompted “a humane endpoint.”
An An’s health had worsened in the past few weeks, while his physical activities and food intake also decreased severely, Ocean Park said in a press release. As of Sunday he had stopped eating solid food and could only drink water and electrolyte beverage.
“Unfortunately but as expected, An An’s condition reached a humane endpoint on 21 July 2022,” the statement read.
Veterinarians from the park and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department “made the difficult decision” to euthanise An An at around 8:40 a.m. on Thursday, after consulting the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda.
An An and a female called Jia Jia were donated by the Chinese government in 1999 to mark the second anniversary of the Handover. Jia Jia died in 2016 at the age of 38.
Paulo Pong, chair of the Ocean Park Corporation, described An An as “an indispensable member” of the amusement park.
“An An has brought us fond memories with numerous heart-warming moments. His cleverness and playfulness will be dearly missed,” Pong added in the statement.
The park asked for condolence messages on its Facebook page and by 4 pm on Thursday there were more than 900 of them.
A video showing An An playing with a ball drew more than 100 likes as of Thursday afternoon. “I last met you in 2020… you were very adorable when playing with a ball after eating bamboo, miss you forever,” wrote Annie Au, who shared the footage.
Even the Chief Executive John Lee had earlier shared his concern.
On July 14 he said on his Facebook page he had learnt that An An had lost his appetite. “I hope everyone can express good wishes for giant panda An An!” he wrote.
Two pandas – Ying Ying and Le Le – are left at Ocean Park. They were born in 2005 and given to Hong Kong by Beijing in 2007 to mark the tenth anniversary of the Handover.
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