Sunny the red panda escapes enclosure at Virginia Zoo

Virginia Zoo

Virginia Zoo

A Red Panda is missing from the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, officials said Tuesday.

Officials say 19-month-old Sunny was last seen around 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23. The animals, which are similar in size to a raccoon, can be seen on the ground but are typically found in trees, according to the Virginia Zoo. The zoo is working with the Norfolk Police Department, using a geothermal camera in an effort to locate the missing animal.

Sunny came to the Virginia Zoo in May 2016 from Front Royal, the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute.

Zoo staff are hopeful Sunny is still on zoo grounds, but they haven't ruled out that she may have wandered off the property. They've got thick fur and a long tail and spent most of their time up in trees.

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

Red pandas have a history of provoking search parties.

Usually, the red panda is most active in the early morning or early evening hours, so spotting Sunny during the daytime may prove hard for the zoo. However, the zoo is asking not to try to approach or touch her, but rather take a photo and text it to the hotline number provided, ABC local affiliate WRIC reported.