Missing exotic animal found after five days on the run

Two tayras
Rizzo will be monitored for a few days before she is reunited with her mate Kenickie [ Hemsley Conservation Centre]

An exotic animal that escaped from a conservation centre in Kent has been found after five days on the run.

Keepers were "distraught" when they discovered Rizzo the tayra had escaped from Hemsley Conservation Centre, near Fairseat, on Sunday morning.

The animal, which is part of the weasel family, was spotted on Monday near Brands Hatch before she was caught on Thursday night in West Kingsdown.

The centre said: "After tracking all sightings over the last few days, we were able to determine her most frequented spots and were able to wait in these areas for a new sighting."

The centre said the tayra, which is native to Central and South America, is believed to have no "obvious" issues.

She will be monitored for a few days before reuniting with her mate Kenickie.

A centre spokesperson said: "This outcome would not have been possible without the support of the amazing local people and businesses reporting their sightings and helping us search when these sightings came in."

The centre said it was conducting a full investigation and could not rule out foul play after damage to weld mesh was found.

Follow BBC Kent on Facebook, on X, and on Instagram. Send your story ideas to southeasttoday@bbc.co.uk or WhatsApp us on 08081 002250.

More on this story