Red panda missing from Eureka zoo

The photo above is of two red pandas from Philadelphia. (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — A red panda is missing on California’s far north coast.

The tiny creature named Masala disappeared from the Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka sometime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday.

Zoo manager Gretchen Ziegler tells the Times-Standard newspaper that any resident who spots the 1 1/2-year old panda should not approach it, but try not to lose sight of it and call the zoo or police.

Ziegler says the biggest threat to Masala would be cars or an animal that preys on small animals. Red pandas are about the size of house cats but have big tails.

It’s unclear how the panda disappeared. Ziegler says the enclosure seems secure, but zookeepers are watching the exhibit’s three other pandas.

Red pandas are native to Nepal, Myanmar and China.

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