Sussex

Raccoons escape from Drusillas Park in Alfriston

Missing raccoons Turpin and Bandit
Image caption Raccoons are generally non-aggressive, but the zoo has warned the public not to approach Turpin and Bandit if they are spotted

Two raccoons have escaped from a zoo in East Sussex.

Turpin and Bandit were found to be missing from their enclosure at Drusillas Park in Alfriston during checks last Friday morning.

Keepers think they may have been spooked by a noise or movement, and fled through the electric deterrent.

They are appealing for information on their whereabouts and said they would not have strayed far and are likely to be in nearby trees or shrubbery.

"Incidents of this nature happen very rarely at the zoo but when they do, it is clearly a worrying time," said zoo manager Sue Woodgate.

"The keepers have been scouring the park and surrounding area but we are appealing to the public to be vigilant too."

'Non-aggressive'

Keepers are satisfied the animals can survive on their own for some time.

"They are generally non-aggressive and the group comes into close contact with the public on a daily basis," Ms Woodgate added.

"However, if you do come across the raccoons we would ask that you do not approach them.

"This may scare them further afield or they may become stressed if cornered.

"Instead please contact the zoo keepers as soon as possible, who have been trained to recover the animals safely."

Drusillas Park has four resident raccoons, which were moved to a new shared enclosure at the start of March.

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