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Missing red panda recovered by National Zoo

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   June 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM   |   Comments

June 24 (UPI) -- A red panda named Rusty disappeared Sunday evening from the National Zoo in Washington D.C., and later was found Monday afternoon in a neighborhood near the zoo.

Zoo workers noticed Rusty was missing from his enclosure at 8 a.m. Monday morning, and began the search. Although officials didn't rule out the possibility someone had taken him, they said he was most likely hiding in a tree.




Local actress Ashley Foughty spotted the rogue red panda, tweeting a photo of him near condos in Adams Morgan, a neighborhood next to the zoo and about a mile away from his exhibit.



Zoo workers were then able to find Rusty and bring him home.



Rusty, who will turn 1 in July, was released into the exhibit after a 30-day quarantine and introduction to Shama, the zoo's resident red panda female.

Red pandas are endangered, and only distantly related to their giant black and white cousins. The nocturnal creatures grow to between 7 and 14 pounds and are native to the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China.

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