'Legendary' Kush the notorious Isle of Man red panda dies

Kush the red panda has died aged eight after a 'short illness'. Credit: Curraghs Wildlife Park

One of the Isle of Man's most famous animals has been put to sleep following a short illness.

Staff at Curraghs Wildlife Park have said they are "shocked and saddened" by his death.

The park's general manager has said Kush experienced a "sudden loss of co-ordination" and was taken to the vets, but his condition worsened and a decision was made to put him to sleep.

Kush the red panda shot to fame in recent years after escaping from his home at Curragh's Wildlife Park on two separate occasions.

The eight-year-old panda had become a dad for the first time in 2020, with two more cubs born this year.

Kush has been popular with visitors after arriving in the park in 2014. Credit: Sarah Teare-Kermeen
Kush was born at Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore in Scotland in the summer of 2013. Credit: Highland Wildlife Park

Kush was born at Highland Wildlife Park in June of 2013.

He was a first for the the Wildlife Park and the first red panda to be born at a Royal Zoological Society of Scotland site in 13 years.

Red pandas are usually found in mountain forests of Asia and are classed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Recent estimates suggest there are only 10,000 left in natural habitat, but some experts believe that figure could be as low as 2,500.

In 2019, the Curraghs Wildlife Park Conservation fund donated £1,200 to the Red Panda Network to help plant more trees in Nepal and connect important panda habitats.