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Hong Kong: oldest panda in captivity dead at 35

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An An, the world’s oldest captive giant panda, has died at the age of 35, the Hong Kong Zoo, where the animal has spent most of its life, has reported.
An An’s health had deteriorated in the past few weeks. His physical activity and his appetite had dropped dramatically and he was suppressed by vets this morning, according to a statement from the Ocean Park Zoo.
The panda’s age is equivalent to a human age of 105, the park said, and the “difficult decision” to kill it was made for its good, according to Chinese experts.
Born in the wild in the mainland province of Sichuan, An An had come to Hong Kong with a female, a couple donated by Beijing to celebrate the second anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain in 1999.
He and his partner Jia Jia have spent the rest of their lives in Ocean Park setting a string of records: Jia Jia entered the Guinness Book of Records for being the oldest panda in captivity when she died at the age of 38 in 2016.
The average lifespan of a panda is 14-20 years, according to the WWF.
After Jia Jia’s death, her surviving companion led a rather lonely life: in 2021, he celebrated his 35th birthday alone, with a fruit and bamboo glazed cake, surrounded by several handmade birthday cards. by the park staff.
Pandas have always been a tool of diplomacy for Beijing. When the couple arrived in Hong Kong, then city administrator Tung Chee-hwa said their names would inspire Hong Kong to stability (An) and success (Jia). And when news of An An’s lack of appetite broke last week, current chief executive John Lee called Ocean Park to express his concern.
Pandas have a hard time reproducing, especially when in captivity. They are classified as “vulnerable” by the WWF, with 1,864 individuals recorded in the wild.

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Source: Ansa

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