Red panda escapes Newquay Zoo to go on a trip to the fruit market

A red panda got out of its zoo enclosure and went for a casual walk to a fruit market.

Warehouse worker Gareth saw it ‘ambling’ down the street in Newquay, Cornwall, ‘without a care in the world’ on Monday.

He said: ‘One of my staff in the loading bay shouted out that they could see a red panda coming down the road.

‘I thought “are you sure it isn’t just a big funny coloured cat?” but no, it was a red panda.’

At one point, the endangered animal was spotted next to rows of apples and pears at a wholesale stall.

When Gareth called police they ‘thought he was pulling their leg’, he told the BBC.

The workers helped officers contain the animal in a nearby courtyard before Newquay Zoo staff came to collect the wannabe escape artist.

The zoo looks after two red pandas – Seren, who arrived in 2019 from Touroparc, France, and the ‘adorable’ 11-month-old Sundara who recently moved from Banham Zoo in East Anglia.

Red pandas are officially endangered and native to the forests of Myanmar to Western Nepal, and are usually found curled up in high treetops.

They mainly eat bamboo shoots, consuming around 20 to 30% of their body weight a day, but they also eat grubs, lizards, chicks and bird’s eggs.

Poachers target them for their fur in China and they often get stuck in hunting traps meant for other animals such as pigs and deer.

They also face threats from deforestation and the exotic pet trade. There is now fewer than 10,000 left in the wild, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.

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