Masala the Red Panda Missing From California’s Sequoia Park Zoo

Red Panda Missing From California Zoo 1:48

A young red panda escaped from a Northern California zoo, and officials there are asking for the public's help to find the animal.

Masala, a 17-month-old red panda, escaped from the Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka Thursday, and someone last reported spotting her early Friday on the outskirts of a nearby golf course, according to a statement from the zoo.

Sequoia Park Zoo
Masala, a young female red panda, went missing from the Sequoia Park Zoo. Sequoia Park Zoo

"This is about the worst thing that can happen. It should never happen and so were trying to make sure it never does again and just recover her," zoo manager Gretchen Ziegler told NBC affiliate KIEM.

"We're very concerned for her safety," Ziegler said.

Masala was born at the Sequoia Park Zoo in July of 2014 and has never been out of captivity, zoo officials said. Masala is about the size of a large house cat.

"She should be pretty nervous for encountering all these new things," Ziegler said.

The zoo appealed on social media for people in the area to keep an eye out for the animal and to drive carefully, especially in the dark, when red pandas are more active. "If you see her, please do not approach, but immediately call," the zoo said in the statement.

The search was called off for the night but would continue Saturday, the zoo said. "There is a lot of ground to cover and she's probably scared," the zoo said.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is also assisting in the search for the red panda, the zoo said.