Goodbye, An An: Hong Kong’s beloved giant panda euthanised at Ocean Park due to old age

  • Park says its veterinarians and those from the government made the ‘difficult decision’ to perform procedure
  • An An arrived in city in 1999 along with female companion Jia Jia as a gift from Beijing

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An An in 1999 at Ocean Park, the year the animal arrived in Hong Kong from China. Photo: Martin Chan

An An, the world’s oldest male giant panda under human care, was euthanised on Thursday morning at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park.

The park said the animal, aged 35 – the equivalent of 105 human years – had refused solid food and only drank water or liquids with electrolytes.

The park added that the panda had been mostly inactive before its death, and staff had provided medical care to ease its discomfort. “Unfortunately but as expected, An An’s condition reached a humane endpoint on 21 July 2022,” Ocean Park said in a press statement.

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“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 euthanisation was conducted at 8.40am on Thursday at the panda’s enclosure, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures.

Last Thursday, the park said the panda had lost its appetite and was in low spirits. The beloved animal had been kept out of visitors’ sight over the past fortnight because of health issues.

Visitors last week watch giant panda An An, which has been kept out of view due to ill health. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu last week also urged residents to pray for the ailing An An. “I hope everyone can come together and give well wishes for the panda,” he wrote on social media.

The animal, born in Sichuan province in southwestern China, arrived in Hong Kong in 1999 along with a female giant panda named Jia Jia as a gift from Beijing to the city. The latter died in 2016, aged 38.

There are two other giant pandas at the park, female Ying Ying and male Le Le, who were given to Hong Kong by the central government in 2007 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese rule.

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