A rare and endangered red panda has gone missing from Belfast Zoo.
Police in the Northern Irish capital said the panda “had decided to take a surprise vacation” on Sunday and was “believed to be currently taking in the sights of beautiful Glengormley”.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) added: “Our curious friend has not yet learned the green cross code, so if motorists could also be vigilant!”
Red pandas “are generally smaller than their better known black and white cousins, looking more like a fox with a striped tail”, says the Daily Mirror.
Two red panda cubs were born at the zoo last year, “but it’s not known if it’s one of these has disappeared”, the newspaper adds.
The circumstances of the missing animal’s apparent escape remain unclear.
The police statement continued: “Should you see this panda, please ring us on 101, the PSNI along with help from our friends at the zoo will help transport the explorer home. These animals are nocturnal and would generally be located within wooded areas.
“Please do not approach or attempt to capture this animal, although they are not aggressive by nature they may be defensive when cornered.”
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has said that the species is facing a very high risk of extinction.
It is “believed there are only between 10,000 and 20,000 left in existence”, reports Sky News.