Red Panda Escapes From National Zoo

Rusty found in DC neighborhood, thanks to Twitter
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2013 4:19 PM CDT

(Newser) – A red panda from the National Zoo in DC went missing last night, sparking a social media-driven panda-hunt after the zoo tweeted, "We are looking for a missing red panda, a male named Rusty. He was last seen at 6 p.m. last night." @NationalZoo continued to provide regular, highly-retweeted updates on the search, and the strategy paid off: A Washingtonian spotted Rusty in her neighborhood this afternoon, and tweeted a picture to the zoo, leading to his rescue and return, the AP reports. The Washington City Paper has images from the ground.

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The National Zoo still doesn't know how Rusty, who is about the size of a raccoon and will turn 1 next month, escaped. "There is no obvious point that Rusty could have gotten out of the enclosure," says a spokesperson—but the zoo promises it wouldn't happen again. "Before we put Rusty back, we'll go back over this exhibit with a fine tooth comb," she says. (Read more red panda stories.)

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