UPDATE 3:20 PM: The recaptured Rusty gets a checkup at the zoo's vet hospital:
[UPDATE 2:23 PM: Zoo officials say on Twitter that Rusty has been found and is on his way back home.]
[UPDATE 2:53 PM: Singer Ashley Foughty spotted Rusty in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C. while the red panda was on the lam. Foughty snapped this picture of him near 20th St. NW and Biltmore St. NW:
No word yet on how Rusty managed to get out of the zoo.]
If you’ve seen a red panda in Washington, D.C., you may want to give the Smithsonian National Zoo a call.
Zoo officials are searching the grounds for a male red panda named Rusty who wasn't inside his enclosure on Monday morning. The missing panda is less than a year old, and has thick, rust-colored fur, white rings on his tail and whiskers. He was last seen on Sunday evening.
"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," zoo officials said on Twitter.
Rusty, a Nebraska native, arrived at the capitol in late April. He's vaccinated, so he poses no serious risk to humans, according to zoo officials. But like any wild animal, Rusty may bite if cornered or scared, so the zoo is warning people to keep away from him if they spot him.
“We have been searching all morning,” zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson told the Washington Post. “It is most likely that he has not really left the vicinity. He would have to have some very strong motivation to leave the area.”