AN ENDANGERED red panda that went missing from Belfast Zoo has been found alive and well.
According to police in Northern Ireland, the rare panda went missing on Sunday, January 27th.
At the time, authorities suggested it had gone a “surprise vacation” and was "taking in the sights of beautiful Glengormley.”
Red pandas are predominantly nocturnal animals that spend most of their time in trees.
We're asking any Glengormley residents to look out for a red panda who went missing from its home @BelfastZoo today. While not considered dangerous, we'd ask anyone who spots it to please not approach it, but call our @PoliceServiceNI colleagues on 101 https://t.co/rjYP0xdseK
— Belfast Zoo (@BelfastZoo) January 28, 2019
Famously agile climbers, they come equipped with sharp claws and a long, striped tail.
Police had asked the public not to approach or attempt to capture the panda as, while not aggressive by nature, it may become defensive if cornered.
They also issued a warning to motorists in the area.
"Our curious friend has not yet learned the green cross code, so if motorists could also be vigilant!" they said.
Thankfully Belfast City Council has now confirmed that the missing red panda from Belfast Zoo has been "located and is being returned to its home"
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🚨WE ARE CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF ENDANGERED RED PANDA CUBS!🚨 The pair were born to parents, Chris and Vixen on 19 June 2018. Red panda cubs are born blind and develop quite slowly. They therefore spend the first few months in the den. It is for this reason that, despite being born back in June, the twins have only recently started to venture outside. Red panda are native to the Himalayas in Bhutan, Southern China, Pakistan, India, Laos, Nepal and Burma. However, red panda numbers are declining dramatically due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for their fur, in particular their long bushy tail which is highly prized as a good luck charm for Chinese newlyweds. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature believes that the red panda is facing a very high risk of extinction. Find out more about our colourful new arrivals on our website! #belfastzoo #zoo #ourzoo #thezoo #belfast #northernireland #animal #animals #wildlife #redpanda #conservation #endangered #animalbabies #babyanimals #twins #twinning
Currently at high risk of extinction, twin red panda cubs were born at Belfast zoo in Cavehill back in June 2018.
They have only recently started to wander outside of their habitat, having first made an appearance in public during the latter part of 2018.
News of the animal's escape had been greeted with delight by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
"Red pandas, like all animals – humans included – want to be free. When animals who have been imprisoned, like the red panda at Belfast Zoo, see an opportunity to escape their dreary lives, they often take it," they tweeted.
Red pandas, like all animals – humans included – want to be free. When animals who have been imprisoned, like the red panda at Belfast Zoo, see an opportunity to escape their dreary lives, they often take it. 😢💔 pic.twitter.com/pik1sFOJ15
— PETA UK (@PETAUK) January 28, 2019
"Zoos are in the business of misery and death – from taking wild animals from their homelands and disrupting their familial bonds to subjecting them to totally unnatural living conditions."