NORFOLK, Va. – The search for Sunny, a missing red panda at the Virginia Zoo, took to the skies Friday morning. A drone was flown behind the zoo’s Asian animal exhibits and video footage taken is being reviewed by zoo officials.
The drone will fly over other areas of the zoo Friday afternoon to take video.
Sunny was last seen in her enclosure Monday around 5 p.m. and was not there when zookeepers arrived Tuesday morning.
Zoo staff, 16 trained volunteers, Norfolk Police and dozens of community members have been helping in the search at the zoo and in a one mile radius from the property.
Norfolk Police Department brought a thermal camera to help search the zoo grounds Tuesday night.
Newport News Sheriff’s K-9 units searched inside and around the zoo Thursday.
Many people have reported sightings of Sunny but most have turned out to be raccoons.
Zoo staff and volunteers will build surveillance for Sunny into their daily activities. The zoo announced Friday that they will not be organizing additional public search parties at this time, but encouraged members of the community to look in their neighborhoods and backyards, check their garages and sheds, and look under their porches and in the eves of any outbuildings.
If you see Sunny, call the Virginia Zoo Hotline at 757-777-7899. If the call is not answered, leave a detailed message with your name, location and animal description. In addition, text photos of the animal you are observing to the Hotline. Do not try to touch, feed or capture Sunny but try to keep her in your sight at all times if possible.