The world’s oldest male giant panda has died at the age of 31.
Pan Pan passed away at 4.50am on Wednesday in southwest China’s Sichuan Province on Wednesday.
The “panda grandpa” had been living at the Dujiangyan base of the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda.
An autopsy has been carried out to find the cause of his death, though the circumstances are not thought to be suspicious.
According to the keepers, Pan Pan was the equivalent to about 100 human years old, but he had been living with cancer, and his health had deteriorated recently.
Though born in the wild in Sichuan’s Baoxing County in 1985, Pan Pan lived in captivity from just a few months old.
He was diagnosed with cancer in June this year, and also suffered from common old-age problems, such as cataracts and poor teeth.
Pan Pan fathered many cubs over the past 20 years. He had more than 130 descendants, accounting for 25 percent of the world’s captive-bred panda population.
The average lifespan of wild pandas is normally 20 years, but those in captivity usually live longer.
Pan Pan, which means “expectation” in Chinese, was also the name of the mascot for the 1990 Beijing Asian Games, though the mascot was not modeled on him, but on a 36-year-old female panda Basi, currently the oldest panda in the world.
Giant pandas are one of the world’s most endangered species. Fewer than 2,000 pandas live in the wild now, mostly in the provinces of Sichuan and Shaanxi.
At the end of 2013, China had 1,864 giant pandas in the wild. There are also 422 in captivity, China’s State Forestry Administration said.