Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

June 24, 2013

Red panda goes missing from DC’s National Zoo

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Zookeepers are searching for a red panda that has gone missing from its enclosure in Washington.

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.

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

They are highly territorial, so Baker-Masson says it’s unlikely that Rusty traveled far. He is likely hiding high in a tree branch.

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.