Colchester Zoo announces the passing of its ‘beloved’ male red panda

Colchester Zoo has announced the passing of its beloved male red panda, An An, on June 14 2024 at the age of 14. An An was under veterinary supervision for a known condition. In the last few days, his condition deteriorated and after receiving additional treatment, the decision was made to put him to sleep in the interest of his welfare.

An An was born on June 23, 2009 at Municipal Zoological Garden in Warsaw, Poland and arrived in Colchester in May 2010. Whilst his passing leaves a devastating hole in the zoo's hearts, the team are comforted knowing that An An spent most of his life being cared for and has left behind an everlasting legacy.

Female red panda, Liwei, joined An An in May 2012 and their love grew for one another resulting in their first litter of twin girls in June 2013. They successfully bred again having another single female offspring in 2018 followed by another set of twin girls in 2019.

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Since his time at Colchester Zoo, An An sired a total of five female cubs, who have since joined other zoos and had families of their own, a total of six grand cubs. At the beginning of June, An An also became a great-grandfather!

Emma, the team leader of the carnivore section at Colchester Zoo, said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with An An since he arrived at Colchester Zoo in May 2010, from Warsaw Zoo in Poland. As expected, it took him a while to trust his new keepers but once he did, he was quite the character! An An will be missed by all past and present Carnivore keepers that had the opportunity to care for him.”

Colchester Zoo also said: “The rainbow bridge has gained a very special red panda, and An An will always hold a special place in the hearts of many.”

An An’s passing now leaves one female red panda at Colchester Zoo, Liwei. It is hoped that there will be further opportunities in the future to breed this endangered species again but for now, Liwei will remain in her habitat at River’s Edge. Red pandas are solitary creatures and only come together for the mating season; however, she will be monitored closely over the next few weeks.

Red pandas are currently listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Colchester Zoo has said that An An has been a great ambassador for his wild cousins and has helped to educate the importance of protecting this species out in the wild.

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