NORFOLK, Va. — The Virginia Zoo is investigating a possible sighting of its missing red panda months after it vanished.

Zoo director Greg Bockheim said in an email, “This is very likely a hoax.” A photo of a red panda strolling through the woods was sent Monday to the zoo.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that Sunny had been missing from the zoo since January.

Bockheim says the zoo contacted Fairfax Animal Control, which tried reaching the message’s original sender but has not heard anything.

The zoo also contacted the Central Park Zoo in New York to learn if the red panda pictured fits the description of any in the U.S. The Virginia Zoo received a message late Monday saying it may be from an exhibit at the New York zoo.

Information from: The Virginian-Pilot,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.