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Giant Panda An An Continues to Empower Scientific Research, Conservation and Education After Passing Away

2022-09-28

Ocean Park today hosted a tree-planting ceremony in remembrance of giant panda An An, the world’s longest-living male giant panda under human care who passed away on 21 July 2022 at age 35. The Park also announced that the remains of An An will be used for scientific research, veterinary science education and conservation, to continue his legacy as the Park’s animal ambassador.
 
The ceremony was attended by Mr Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism; Dr Leung Siu-fai, Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation; and representatives from Ocean Park Corporation including Mr Paulo Pong, Chairman; Mr Ivan Wong, Chief Executive; Ms Ysanne Chan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer; Mr Michael Boos, Executive Director, Zoological Operations and Conservation; and Mr Howard Chuk, General Curator.
 
With agreement of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) in Wolong, Ocean Park and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) have decided to preserve and conserve part of An An’s carcass as biological samples for histopathology and future research. An An’s fur is preserved by the Park, while his skeleton will be sent to the City University of Hong Kong for veterinary science, education and research purposes. Other remains were cremated by incineration, and the treated cremated ashes were planted with a memorial ginkgo tree today at The Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures, where the giant panda used to reside.
 
“An An has been one of our most popular animal ambassadors, enabling our mission to educate Ocean Park’s local and overseas visitors on animal and environmental conservation. The fond memories of him are cherished by the residents of Hong Kong and visitors of the Park who had the chance to meet him. We want to thank the CCRCGP, and the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of HKSAR for their continued support and advice on panda conservation promotion, husbandry and medical welfare as well as the arrangements for An An’s remains. Preserving the biological samples and skeleton would play a vital role in researching geriatric giant pandas and their care. The Park’s educational work is complemented by giant pandas, and we wish to continue providing even more giant panda experiences and education programmes for students and visitors of all ages,” said Mr Paulo Pong, Chairman of Ocean Park Corporation.
 
The CCRCGP expressed their deepest appreciation to giant panda An An’s contribution to scientific research via a recorded video and bid their final farewell to him. The Center said it has established a long-term partnership with Ocean Park since An An and Jia Jia moved here more than 20 years ago. The CCRCGP cited collaborative achievements with Ocean Park in the areas of giant panda conservation research, science education and cultural exchange, highlighting breakthroughs in enhancing the care and medical treatment for geriatric pandas.
 
Giant pandas are listed under Appendix I of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It is a Vulnerable Species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List (IUCN), and protected under the HKSAR Cap. 586 Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance.