Red pandas escape zoo enclosure, spend hours on the loose

By Ben Hooper
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Dec. 28 (UPI) -- A Seattle zoo said two baby red pandas spent hours on the loose after accidentally ending up outside their enclosure, but neither animal left the zoo grounds.

The Woodland Park Zoo said an animal keeper spotted one of the red pandas running loose in a behind-the-scenes service area about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and workers quickly determined both baby red pandas were outside the enclosure.


Zoo officials determined the red pandas had escaped accidentally when they were both on a small tree branch that broke and landed outside the exhibit.

The zoo said one of the red pandas, Zeya, climbed a tree adjoining the red panda enclosure and was lured down with food. She was returned to her enclosure around midnight.

The second panda, Ila, climbed a tall tree a ways away from the closure and animal care staff decided to allow the red panda to remain in the tree until morning so she didn't become started and fall from a high branch.

Ila climbed down from the tree about 11:40 a.m. Thursday and was returned to the enclosure.

Both red pandas are being monitored to ensure they did not sustain any injuries during their time on the loose, zoo officials said. The exhibit is being rechecked to make sure there aren't any other branches likely to facilitate another escape.


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