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Zoo’s Rusty the red panda found in DC neighborhood

Updated: June 24, 2013 1:44PM



WASHINGTON — Animal keepers from the National Zoo have captured a red panda in a Washington neighborhood after it went missing from its enclosure at the zoo.

National Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson says the male named Rusty was captured Monday afternoon in a bush in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

The red panda is being taken to the zoo’s animal hospital for a checkup.

Unlike giant pandas, red pandas are not members of the bear family. Red pandas are slightly bigger than a domestic cat and look similar to a raccoon. They are listed as vulnerable in the wild.

Rusty arrived at the zoo in April from the zoo in Lincoln, Neb., and was in quarantine for several weeks until he went on exhibit in early June.

National Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson says animal keepers discovered the male named Rusty was missing Monday morning. They began searching the zoo at 8 a.m.

Red pandas are highly territorial, so Baker-Masson says it’s unlikely that Rusty would travel far.

Animal keepers last saw him Sunday evening about 6 p.m. when he was fed and appeared healthy. They believe he may stay in hiding during the day. They are also looking at the possibility that Rusty is sick or that someone took him.

Rusty arrived at the zoo in April from the zoo in Lincoln, Neb., and was in quarantine for several weeks until he went on exhibit in early June. The zoo began sending out messages about his disappearance Monday morning on Twitter in case someone sees him at the zoo.



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