UPDATE: According to the National Zoo’s twitter account, the search that began this morning when staff discovered Rusty the red panda was missing has ended. The Zoo says Rusty has been found, crated and is headed back to the Zoo. He was found in the Adams Morgan neighborhood around 1:30 p.m. and will get an exam from the Zoo’s veterinary staff before settling in back home. The wait until he’s reintroduced to his home and fellow red panda, Shama, could be up to week, says Sarah Mulligan with the office of communications. “We just want to make sure he didn’t pick anything up,” she says. While the Zoo still isn’t sure how exactly Rusty got out, she did say that they received plenty of help from social media and were happy with that result.
The National Zoo reported that Rusty, a not yet one-year-old red panda, was missing from his enclosure after staff discovered his absence early Monday morning. They began a thorough search for the small creature, who has been with the Zoo since April.
Spokesperson Pamela Baker-Masson told the Washington Post it was possible the red panda was sick, dead or stolen, saying they had to consider all possibilities. It was also possible the creature is hiding in a tree.
Rusty was finally spotted by a young woman in Adams Morgan who tweeted a photo of the little guy sneaking between some greenery. The Zoo came and collected him shortly after.
Watch the drama unfold on Twitter, from the start of the search to its happy conclusion: