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Missing red panda from National Zoo found in DC

Published: Monday, June 24, 2013 1:54 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, June 24, 2013 1:56 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Abby Wood)
This undated handout photo provided by the National Zoo shows a red panda that has gone missing from its enclosure at the zoo in Washington. National Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson says animal keepers discovered the male red panda named Rusty was missing on Monday morning. Red pandas are in a separate family from giant pandas and are listed as vulnerable in the wild. They are highly territorial, so Baker-Masson says itís unlikely that Rusty traveled far from his home. He is likely hiding high in a tree branch. (AP Photo/Smithsonianís National Zoo, Abby Wood)

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

The male named Rusty was captured in a bush in the Adams Morgan neighborhood on Monday afternoon, said National Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson. The animal was 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 a zoo in Lincoln, Neb., and was in quarantine for several weeks until he went on exhibit in early June. He will turn 1 year old in July.

Red pandas are highly territorial, so zoo officials did not believe he would have traveled far. Rusty, it seems, wanted to explore his new city.

Animal keepers discovered he was missing Monday morning and started searching the zoo at 8 a.m. Residents in the surrounding neighborhoods may have been on the lookout as well as photos were posted on Twitter just before the animal was caught.

The zoo began sending out messages about his disappearance Monday morning on Twitter in case someone saw him.

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