UPDATE: Missing panda returned to National Zoo

Posted at 12:03 PM, Jun 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-24 14:44:38-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVR) – The search for the missing red panda is over. The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. said Rusty the red panda is on his way home — back to the Zoo.

While the Zoo had not yet said where the missing animal was located nor how it escaped, some in Washington tweeted photos of the wild animal walking around their neighborhood.

“Spotted near 20th and Biltmore near Airy View condos at 1:25. Are you missing this guy??” Ashley Foughty tweeted.

Earlier Monday workers at the National Zoo searched for the missing red panda.

“He was last seen at 6 p.m. last night,” a tweet from the Zoo indicated. “Animal care staff have been combing the trees around the Zoo since 8 a.m. He could be sick and hiding, or someone could have taken him.”

“Red pandas typically spend the warm daytime hours resting, so it’s likely Rusty is somewhere in or near the Zoo hiding in a tree,” the Zoo tweeted. “Red pandas are arboreal, territorial animals, so it would be unusual for Rusty to wander far from his home range, in his case his exhibit.”