World’s oldest male giant panda dies at age 35 in Hong Kong

Category : Science/Environment

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. deteriorate / dɪˈtɪər i əˌreɪt / (v.) – to become worse in one’s condition or health

    Frank brought his cat to the pet clinic because she stopped eating and her health deteriorated.

  2. geriatric / ˌdʒɛr iˈæ trɪk / (adj.) – relating to an old person or animal

    My friend and I donated some food to an animal shelter for geriatric dogs.

  3. euthanize / ˈyu θəˌnaɪz / (v.) – to put an animal to death because of old age or sickness

    Sometimes, when a pet isn’t getting better from an illness, the owner and the veterinarian discuss the option to euthanize it.

  4. lease / lis / (v.) – to enter a legal agreement to use or have something for a period of time in exchange for payment

    Kim leased her building to a company for five years.

  5. goodwill / ˈgʊdˈwɪl / (n.) – an act that gives a friendly or supportive feeling towards another person, organization, or country

    I always send greeting cards to my clients on their birthdays as a sign of goodwill.


Read the text below.

The oldest-ever male giant panda in captivity has died at age 35 at a Hong Kong theme park after his health deteriorated.

An An lived most of his life at Ocean Park after he and a female panda were gifted to Hong Kong by China in 1999. The female panda, Jia Jia, died in 2016 at age 38, making her the oldest-ever panda in captivity.

Ocean Park mourned An An as a family member who grew with the park and built bonds with locals and tourists.

“An An has brought us fond memories with numerous heart-warming moments. His cleverness and playfulness will be dearly missed,” Paulo Pong, chairman of Ocean Park Corporation, said in a statement.

An An had high blood pressure, a common condition among geriatric pandas. For weeks, An An had been kept out of sight from visitors at the park as his health worsened. He stopped eating solid food and was significantly less active days before his death.

Hundreds left comments on an Ocean Park post about An An’s condition, wishing him a speedy recovery.

In the morning of July 21, he was euthanized to prevent further suffering, after veterinarians from Ocean Park and government authorities consulted the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, Ocean Park said.

“An An lived a full life that ended at the respectable age of 35 – the equivalent of 105 years in human age,” the statement read.

Hong Kong was given another panda pair — Ying Ying, a female, and a male, Le Le — in 2007 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the city’s return to China.

China commonly engages in “panda diplomacy” where the mammals exclusively found in China are leased to other countries as a sign of goodwill.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • An An lived most of his life at Ocean Park. What do you think was the effect of An An’s presence on the park and its surrounding community (ex. he gave joy to visitors, he attracted tourists)? Discuss.
  • What do you think the park should do to honor An An’s memory (ex. raise funds to help other pandas, sell souvenirs)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • An An and Jia Jia were gifted to Hong Kong by China in 1999 as part of their “panda diplomacy.” Do you think it’s a good idea to lease animals among countries as a sign of goodwill? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What do people usually give as a sign of goodwill to foreigners visiting your country (ex. charms, food, etc.)? Do you follow these practices? Why or why not? Discuss.
Category : Science/Environment