Panda on the Run: Search Intensifies for Extremely Rare Red Panda After It Escapes From Zoo
The search has centered on a one-mile radius around the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.
The animal is an endangered species and search parties and volunteers are searching high and low to find her. Norfolk police are also helping with the search for Sunny, using a thermal camera.
Sunny was last seen in the red panda habitat at Virginia Zoo in Norfolk. It's mating season, and officials think she was on a branch being pursued by an amorous male red panda when she fell and landed outside the enclosure.
"I think there is a lot of food for her, it has been raining around, there is good freshwater around," zoo executive director Greg Bachman told Inside Edition:
He added that some of the sightings have "not been reliable," with most people mistaking the panda for a raccoon.
The search is centered on a one-mile radius around the zoo which includes residential neighborhoods, a park, and a cemetery.
The zoo has even sent out an alert on Twitter.
Thank you to staff & volunteers who worked diligently today searching for Sunny, our missing Red Panda. Plz call/txt 757-777-7899 w any info pic.twitter.com/WiUDTih79dJanuary 25, 2017
Red pandas are smaller than the black-and-white pandas that are so beloved. There are less than 10,000 animals like Sunny in the world today.
The zoo urges anyone who sees Sunny not try to feed, pet or capture her.
This also isn’t the first time a red panda has escaped from the zoo.
In 2015, “Fluffy” escaped from the Sequoia Park Zoo in California. A resident later spotted the animal near her home and she was coaxed down from a tree and returned to the zoo.
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