CHENGDU, Sichuan – World’s oldest male panda has died in China aged 31, six months after being diagnosed with cancer.
“Panda grandpa,” as he became known, was diagnosed with cancer in June this year, and also suffered from common old-age conditions, such as cataracts and poor teeth.
During his life, Pan Pan fathered more than 130 children and grandchildren, according to Chinese state media, making 25% of all pandas in captivity his descendents.
Born in the wild in Sichuan in China, he was taken into captivity when he was just a few months old.
China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas keeper Tan Chengbin told Xinhua Pan Pan had been living with cancer and his health had “deteriorated” in the past three days.
The world’s oldest female panda is currently 36-year-old Basi, who also lives in China, after Jia Jia died aged 38 in Hong Kong in October.
Wild pandas usually live to about 20.
Pan Pan, whose name means “hope” or “expectation”, died early on Wednesday morning at the Dujiangyan base of the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda, in Sichuan.
The centre described the news of the death of the “hero-father” panda as “heart-wrenching”.
The latest Chinese estimates show a population of 1,864 adults, as well as – according to China’s State Forestry Administration – 422 in captivity.
But the IUCN warns that climate change is predicted to wipe out more than one-third of the panda’s bamboo habitat in the next 80 years.