Sunny the Red Panda: Missing Since Tuesday From Zoo in Norfolk

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Sunny, 19 months old, was last seen inside the Norfolk facility's red panda habitat at around 5 p.m. on Monday, according to the zoo's website.

According to the Virginia Zoo, the red panda was not in her enclosure Tuesday morning and crews began a thorough search of zoo grounds.

Sunny arrived at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk previous year in May from the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal.

"Like any wild animal its behavior can be unpredictable", the zoo said.

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Red pandas have a history of provoking search parties. And it was raining Monday night in Norfolk, so the branches could have been slippery, and so Sunny may have, you know, fallen out of the tree while Thomas was pursuing her. Instead, people should immediately call the Virginia Zoo hotline at 757-777-7899.

But Thomas isn't talking, and on Wednesday staff and police were still searching the zoo's grounds and the surrounding area within a mile radius. It first lived at Front Royal, the Smithsonian's Conservative Biology Institute. The zoo added that red pandas "are generally not considered aggressive", but residents were nonetheless advised not to touch, feed, or capture Sunny on their own.

Thank you to staff & volunteers who worked diligently today searching for Sunny, our missing Red Panda. While they can be seen on the ground, Red pandas are typically found in trees.

The World Wildlife Fund estimates fewer than 10,000 red pandas are left in the world.