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Panda-monium: Rusty the red panda found after 20 hours loose from National Zoo

Rusty the red panda.jpg

Rusty, a red panda that has gone missing from the National Zoo in Washington D.C. (National Zoo)

The National Zoo in Washington D.C. has found its missing red panda Rusty, who was missing for nearly 24 hours.

At around 2:15 p.m., the zoo reported that the panda was back, safe and sound, after what must have been a scary experience for a little guy.

'Rusty the red panda has been recovered, crated and is headed safely back to the National Zoo!'

- National Zoo statement

Rusty, a red panda who turns one in July, was introduced to the zoo on June 10 from the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska. And Monday morning, just two weeks later, the zoo tweeted out that the animal was missing, having last been seen at 6 p.m. Sunday evening. The zoo requested the public’s help in tracking him down.

After almost a day missing, Rusty is back, the zoo said, having been found in Adams Morgan, a nearby neighborhood in Northwest Washington D.C.

"Rusty the red panda has been recovered, crated and is headed safely back to the National Zoo! Thank you to everyone who helped us look for and find him!," the zoo wrote on its Facebook page.

National Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson told the Associated Press Monday morning that Rusty couldn't have gotten very far.

"Unless he was very motivated, he would not wander far from his habitat," Baker-Masson said. "This red panda is not down on the (National) Mall."

Red pandas are arboreal, territorial animals, the zoo’s Twitter feed added, so it would be unusual for Rusty to wander far from his home range -- in his case his exhibit at the zoo.

The zoo said it would keep its Facebook page and Twitter feed up to date in the hunt.