The world’s oldest giant male panda in captivity died in Hong Kong at age 35.
The panda named An An’s health had gradually declined over the past few weeks, according to officials at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park where he had spent most of his life. His caregivers had observed a considerable decrease in his daily food intake and physical activity. After he completely stopped eating solid foods by July 17, consuming only electrolyte drinks, officials had to make “the difficult decision to perform the procedure of humane euthanasia” on him.
Also called “mercy killing”, euthanasia is a procedure performed to painlessly put to death patients suffering from painful/incapacitating and incurable diseases. In other words, it is the painless killing of a patient suffering from a critical ailment ruled incurable. The procedure was performed on An An yesterday at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures at Ocean Park, after due consultation with the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda.
People have been paying tribute to the bear following the opening of a book of condolences at his home and online. “An An has brought us fond memories with numerous heart-warming moments. His cleverness and playfulness will be dearly missed”, the chairman of Ocean Park Corporation, Paolo Pong, said in a statement.