Where is Sunny? Red Panda Goes Missing In Virginia Zoo
The search for Sunny the red panda is currently ongoing. Have you seen her?
Sunny was last seen on her enclosure in Virginia Zoo on Monday. Reports say Sunny may have fallen out of a tree as a male of her kind "pursued" her. This time is the breeding season for red pandas - which are native to China and the Himalayas - and because of this they can be a little hyperactive.
ABC News said that authorities have been looking for the 19-month-old red panda using geothermal camera since Tuesday after she was noticed missing during their regular checking.
"Zoo staff are hopeful Sunny is still on zoo grounds. In the event Sunny has wandered off the property and is spotted in the community, the public is asked to call the Virginia Zoo hotline at 777-7899," the Virginia Zoo said in a statement . "Red pandas are generally not considered aggressive animals, but like any wild animals, its behavior can be unpredictable, and you should not try to touch, feed or capture Sunny yourself."
The zoo management said red pandas are reddish-brown and have thick fur and a long tail. They are usually mistaken for a raccoon. Sunny might have been hiding up a tree somewhere. Anyone who has spotted Sunny can call or text the zoo's hotline at 757-777-7899. They may also send a photo of Sunny for confirmation.
Sunny arrived at the zoo in May 2016 from the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute.
Red pandas have been known to escape zoo enclosures in the past. Inside Edition said similar case happened at the Sequoia Park Zoo in California in 2015 when a red panda named Fluffy escaped her enclosure. She was later spotted near her home, was coaxed down from a tree and returned to the zoo.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies red pandas as an endangered species. Fewer than 10,000 adult red pandas remain in the wild.