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Rusty The Red Panda Used Tree Limbs To Escape

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Rusty made it all the way from the National Zoo to Adams Morgan before being caught.
National Zoo
Rusty made it all the way from the National Zoo to Adams Morgan before being caught.

National Zoo officials believe rain allowed Rusty to escape from what was thought to be a secure enclosure. That rain lowered tree limbs in the red panda exhibit, meaning Rusty could get closer to the edge of the enclosure. It also caused bamboo just outside the enclosure to bend over, creating a bridge perfect for Rusty's escape.

The escape produced tense drama and a search that spanned two neighborhoods, before the red panda was finally found running about in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of northwest D.C.

To ensure Rusty and his exhibit mate, Shama, stay at the zoo, staff are trimming trees and cutting bamboo in and around the exhibit. They also plan to replace plants in the upper portion of the enclosure with a visitor barrier, which will add 30 more inches of tree-free space.

Zoo officials say Rusty is in good health and expect him to be back in his exhibit by July 4.

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