Sunny, a 19-month-old female red panda from the Virginia Zoo
caused quite the stir in Norfolk, Va., when she disappeared during
The panda exhibit at the Virginia Zoo is open-air and
surrounded by tall oak trees that the panda could have easily discovered. Greg
Bockheim, executive director of the zoo, told The New York Times that he thinks Sunny's flight to
freedom may have been her way of escaping sexual advances from fellow red panda and
habitat partner-in-crime, Thomas.
Though it certainly wouldn't be the first time
a woman ditched a guy for stalking, lack of interest or disdain for one's life choices (looking at you, Melania Trump), it is also possible that she lost
her footing during his aggressive pursuit. In either event, the race to find
Sunny has entered its second week, and everyone wants to see her make it back
Have you seen Sunny?? The @virginiazoo red panda hasn't been seen since Monday evening! Call the zoo hotline at 757-777-7899 if you see her! #FindSunny #Norfolk #redpanda #HRVA
Although there have been no sightings to date, there were
plenty of tips coming in on the hotline ((757) 777-7899) for stray cats and
raccoons—neither of which seemed to generate much interest from Thomas.
It also appears that @SunnyRedPanda has joined the Twitter
family and, as you can see, she has been rather busy updating her status and
making people smile.
When daylight breaks, I'll tweet what I see https://t.co/reOcju5zSk
Despite continued efforts, workers and volunteers inside the
zoo and surrounding areas have yet to catch a glimpse of their missing
sweetheart. They have used bloodhounds, geothermal cameras and drones
throughout their crusade, but the hunt for Thomas's apathetic counterpart is
still going strong and, as you might imagine, his patience is probably wearing
Sometimes a girl Red Panda needs a pick me up @smartmouthbeer
Oddly enough, Sunny's sabbatical is not the first of its
kind. In 2013, Rusty the red panda was apprehended less than 24 hours after
fleeing his home at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington. And a few
years later, three red pandas slipped out of the Hangzhou Zoo in China when a
branch broke and one of them was MIA for a solid eight months.
it is possible for red pandas to wander suburbia without getting caught and,
luckily, the climate in Virginia is cooperating with Sunny’s little excursion.
As for her roommate and his insatiable desire to reproduce, it does not appear
that she’s in any hurry to climb back into his cage.
Perhaps her biggest
problem has nothing to do with animal endangerment and everything to do with
finding a different kind of