Hong Kong authorities announced Friday that a 400 year old banyan tree will have to be cut down after it succumbed to a fungal disease, Sina reports.
Located in Kowloon Park, the tree, Hong Kong’s oldest, predates British control of the region and outlasted both the Qing dynasty, British colonialism, and Chinese communism.
The banyan tree was diagnosed with the deadly brown root rot disease in 2009, brought on by “improper park design” when the tree’s roots were starved of oxygen and nutrients during park development in 1989.
Park authorities attempted to salvage the tree, but the risk of infection posed to other trees in the vicinity has left them little choice but to cut it down.
Action by the authorities may have actually sped up the tree’s decline, Jim Chi-yung of Hong Kong University, told the SCMP. 20 holes created at the base of the tree just damaged its roots further.
“The whole saga is avoidable and unnecessary,” Jim said. “It is a very sad picture.”