A RED Panda described as "quite the character" has died, Colchester Zoo has announced.

An An, a male red panda, based at Colchester Zoo, in Maldon Road, has died on June 14 aged 14.

According to a spokesman for Colchester Zoo, An An was under veterinary supervision for a “known condition”, however his condition deteriorated.

After additional treatment, the difficult decision was made to put him to sleep, in the interest of his welfare.

Sassy - An An striking a poseSassy - An An striking a pose (Image: Colchester Zoo)

The mischievous red panda was born on June 23, 2009, at the Municipal Zoological Garden in Warsaw, Poland, and arrived at Colchester Zoo in May, 2010.

In 2012, An An was joined by a female red panda called Liwei and the pair quickly bonded and welcomed a litter of twin female red pandas in June 2013.

Subsequently the pair had a female red panda in 2018 and another set of twin female red pandas in 2019.

Before An An passed, he became a great grandfather of six cubs.

Happy - An AnHappy - An An (Image: Colchester Zoo)

Emma, the team leader of the carnivore section at Colchester Zoo has worked with An An over the years.

She 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.”

Loved - Ann AnnLoved - Ann Ann (Image: Colchester Zoo)

Following An An’s passing, he has now left Liwei, the only female red panda at Colchester Zoo and his cubs have all gone to different zoos.

A spokesman for Colchester Zoo said hopefully there will be “further opportunities in the future to breed this endangered species”.

For now, Liwei will remain in her habitat at River’s Edge.

The spokesman said: “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.

“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.”