Two of the animals at Hangzhou Safari Park were captured but the third is still missing, according to the Global Times newspaper.
The safari park reported the leopards missing and alerted the public on Saturday, but villagers said they saw the animals as early as May 1.
It is not known how the leopards managed to escape.
Efforts to capture the last leopard continued on Sunday evening, according to a statement released today by the Hangzhou local government on its official WeChat account.
Those who searched for the animal used equipment such as drones, as well as hunting dogs.
The leopard was spotted by a drone early on Sunday, but fled when people tried to approach it, according to the Global Times.
The delay in announcing the escape drew criticism that the park had put people in danger, especially as the leopards were on the run ChinaThe five-day Labor Day holiday, when hoards of tourists visited the city of Hangzhou – one of the country’s most popular destinations thanks to its tea plantations and scenic West Lake.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the leopards’ flight and have questioned the staff in charge of the safari park.
The safari park said it was “sincerely sorry” not to report the incident earlier, according to a statement posted on its Weibo microblogging account on Saturday.
As the young leopards were seen as less aggressive, the park said it did not make the announcement to avoid causing panic among the public.
The safari park has been temporarily closed while it reviews security and management issues.