An An was believed to be the oldest giant panda living in captivity when he was humanely euthanized at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park on Thursday.
He was 35.
An An’s health began deteriorating over the past few weeks and his eating had slowed down. By Sunday, he stopped eating solid foods and would only drink water and an electrolyte beverage, Ocean Park said. He was sleeping more and more and doing less and less.
But veterinarians could do little to help him or make him more comfortable.
It wasn’t an easy decision.
“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,” the facility said Thursday.
“An An lived a full life that ended at the respectable age of 35 – the equivalent of 105 years in human age,” it added.
That’s much longer than pandas typically live.
An An arrived in Hong Kong in 1999 with Jia Jia, the world’s longest-living female giant panda who died in 2016 at 38 — both were gifts from the Chinese government.
“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,” Paulo Pong, chairman of Ocean Park Corporation, said in a statement.
Both pandas meant at lot to the community and visitors alike.
“An An has brought us fond memories with numerous heart-warming moments,” Pong added. “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,” he added.
Ocean Parks still has two giant pandas, Ying Ying and Le Le.