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Lost, hungry red panda safely returned to Norwegian zoo

By Marilyn Malara   |   Dec. 26, 2015 at 4:03 PM
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KRISTIANSAND, Norway, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A runaway red panda is safely back in his enclosure at a Norwegian zoo after spending a week at large in the town of Kristiansand.

Having snuck out of the city's zoo last Thursday, the arboreal mammal named Adrian avoided capture for several days before being found "tired and hungry" at the top of a tree, according to Norwegian news outlet NRK.

"It's great that he'll be home for Christmas," zookeeper Helene Axelsen told NRK, translated by The Local. "There's not an awful lot for pandas to eat in the Norwegian environment."

Adrian was spotted by a local veterinarian in the residential area of Lauvasen, the outlet said. The red omnivore was first spotted Monday crossing a highway but evaded capture.

"It's such a relief to get him home. Especially in good condition," Axelsen added. "He was really hungry and worn out, so it's good to see he is getting something to eat and is doing well given the circumstances."

Red pandas, a vulnerable species according to Encyclopedia of Life, are native to China and the eastern Himalayas. They are usually reddish-brown in color with white and black markings similar to that of giant pandas. However, they are only slightly larger than a house cat.

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