Rare red panda found after escape from Belfast Zoo

This undated photo issued by Belfast Zoo, Northern Ireland, shows red pandas that live on the zoo premises. Officials say a rare red panda has gone missing from Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland on Sunday. Belfast City Council officials said Monday Jan. 28, 2019, the animal is not considered dangerous but warned the public not to approach it if it is spotted. (Belfast Zoo via AP)
This undated photo issued by Belfast Zoo, Northern Ireland, shows a red panda on the zoo premises. Officials say a rare red panda has gone missing from Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland on Sunday. Belfast City Council officials said Monday Jan. 28, 2019, the animal is not considered dangerous but warned the public not to approach it if it is spotted. (Belfast Zoo via AP)

LONDON — Officials say a rare red panda is safe and sound, a day after it escaped from Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland.

The animal went missing on Sunday, and Belfast City Council had urged members of the public to report any sightings to the zoo.

The council said Monday that the mammal had been found, adding that "it is safe and well and has been returned to the zoo."

Two red panda cubs were born at the zoo in June, bringing the population there to four.

A small tree-dwelling mammal native to the Himalayas, the red panda is not closely related to the better-known giant panda.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says the red panda faces a very high risk of extinction due to habitat loss.

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