World's oldest giant panda in captivity dies at 35

An An was euthanized early Thursday at the human equivalent age of 105.

July 21, 2022, 4:44 AM

An An, the world’s oldest giant male panda in captivity and under human care, has died at the age of 35 in Hong Kong.

According to officials at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park where An An had spent the majority of his life, his health had deteriorated progressively over the past several weeks when his caretakers observed a noticeable decrease in his daily physical activities and food intake. By July 17, officials said he had stopped taking in solid foods altogether and was only consuming electrolyte beverages.

PHOTO: Visitors write notes to mourn the death of Chinese giant panda An An at the Ocean Park of Hong Kong, Thursday, July 21, 2022. The oldest-ever male giant panda in captivity has died at age 35 at the Hong Kong theme park after his health failed.
Visitors write notes to mourn the death of Chinese giant panda An An at the Ocean Park of Hong Kong, Thursday, July 21, 2022. The oldest-ever male giant panda in captivity has died at age 35 at the Hong Kong theme park after his health deteriorated.
AP Photo/Kin Cheung

“His condition reached a humane endpoint that based on animal welfare reasons, veterinarians from Ocean Park and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department made the difficult decision to perform the procedure of humane euthanasia on An An after consulting the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda,” read a statement from Ocean Park Hong Kong on social media.

The procedure was carried out at approximately 8:40 a.m. at An An’s home in The Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures at Ocean Park. His age of 35-years-old is roughly equivalent to 105-years-old in human age.

An An, who was born in 1986, had lived at Ocean Park since 1999 when he and his partner Jia Jia were gifted to Hong Kong by China’s central government. Jia Jia passed away on October 16, 2016, according to a statement released at the time of her death by Ocean Park. Jia Jia was also listed as the oldest giant panda living in captivity when she passed away almost six years ago.

“We are truly thankful for the opportunity to take care of Jia Jia and An An throughout the years so that the Park could develop into an important base for panda conservation,” the chairman of Ocean Park Corportaion, Paolo Pong, said in a press release. “Since this long-living panda duo’s arrival at Ocean Park in 1999, they have supported the Park’s endeavours in promoting nature and ecosystems to visitors as its ambassadors.”

PHOTO: Chinese Giant panda An An celebrates his 29th birthday at the Ocean Park in Hong Kong on July 28, 2015. The world's oldest-ever male giant panda in captivity on Thursday, July 21, 2022 passed away after being euthanized in Hong Kong.
Chinese Giant panda An An celebrates his 29th birthday at the Ocean Park in Hong Kong on July 28, 2015. The world's oldest-ever male giant panda in captivity on Thursday, July 21, 2022 passed away after being euthanized in Hong Kong, following a deterioration in his health in recent weeks.
Kin Cheung/AP

A book of condolences has been opened up at An An’s home as well as online for people to pay their tributes to the beloved bear.

Said Pong: “An An is an indispensable member of our family and has grown together with the Park. He has also built a strong bond of friendship with locals and tourists alike. An An has brought us fond memories with numerous heart-warming moments. His cleverness and playfulness will be dearly missed … His legacy will stay as the best testimony to the Park’s ongoing commitment to providing best-in-class husbandry and medical care for giant pandas, with China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda as an essential partner in all aspects over the years. An An and Jia Jia’s mission will be furthered by giant pandas Ying Ying and Le Le residing at Giant Panda Adventure.”

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