World’s Oldest Male Panda Who Helped Save His Species Dies at 31

Pan Pan, the world’s oldest male panda in captivity passed away on Wednesday in China’s Sichuan Province.

According to Hindustan Times, Pan Pan was suffering from cancer when he passed at the age of 31, which is equivalent to about 100 human years. Although circumstances don’t seem to be suspicious, an autopsy is still being carried out to find out the exact cause of Pan Pan’s death.

Pan Pan, also popularly known as “Panda grandpa,” was diagnosed with cancer in June of this year. He also suffered from old-age conditions like cataracts and poor teeth.

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Tang Chengbin, a keeper from the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda in Dujiangyan, said that Pan Pan’s health had collapsed in the past three days.

“Pan Pan was the equivalent to about 100 human years, but he had been living with cancer and his health had deteriorated in the past three days. He had lost consciousness,” Tang said.

An earlier report stated that Pan Pan was kept in a “nursing home” specifically for elderly pandas and although he was thin, he was in good spirits.

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Pandas are known to be notoriously difficult to breed, but Pan Pan was able to father many cubs over the last 20 years. Around 25% of pandas bred in captivity are said to be related to Pan Pan, leaving him with about 130 descendants, reports iNews UK.

On average, a panda’s lifespan in the wild is from 14-20 years, according to the World Wildlife Foundation,  but those in captivity live much longer.

Thankfully, this year pandas were upgraded from “endangered” status to “vulnerable.” Because of their cuddly appearance, funny and gentle mannerisms, pandas have somewhat helped in increasing the public’s awareness regarding the conservation of their species.

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Pan Pan was born in 1985 in the wild of Sichuan’s Baoxing County and has lived in captivity for most of his life starting when he was just a few months old. He was also named the mascot for the 1990 Beijing Asian Games.

Earlier this year in October, the former world’s oldest giant panda, Jia Jia, was put to sleep after succumbing to old age at 38.

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