A missing red panda was found by the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Rusty the red panda was last seen last night around 6 pm during dinner. Zoo officials found that he was missing from his enclosure early this morning. Thankfully he was found safe hours later.
Rusty looks incredibly cute and cuddly. However, officials warn that he can and may bite. Workers at the zoo spent the entire morning search all the park’s trees for the escaped panda. They were concerned that he may have been sick.
As reported by CBS News, it is unusual for a territorial red panda to wander far from an established home. Rusty came to live at the National Zoo following his birth at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska. The red panda was only on display for a month when he went missing. He is just under a year old.
Zoo officials were seeking the public’s help with locating the red panda. “Missing” notices were posted on Twitter and several other media outlets. Authorities warned that the panda should not be touched.
Latest reports indicate that red panda was found safe and is on his way back to the National Zoo.
Like the giant panda, red pandas are native to China. Both types of pandas are endangered. As the panda is only fertile for a brief period of time each year, reproduction can be difficult.
As reported by Reuters, only a few thousand red pandas remain in the wild, as habitat destruction continues to threaten their numbers. Conservation programs continue to work diligently to prevent their extinction.
As explained by RedPandaNetwork.org, conservation efforts in China include community based informational programs. Conservationists work in the schools and villages, educating residents about developing protected areas and respecting existing habitats.
The awareness programs include the selection and training of “forest guardians” tasked with continuing community awareness and assisting with research.
Thankfully the red panda was found. Rusty is now on his way home to the National Zoo. As red pandas are endangered, it was even more devastating that he was lost.