Rusty the Red Panda Returns to Exhibit After Daring Escape

The red panda who escaped from the National Zoo last month is back in his exhibit. Rusty was released into his Asia Trail exhibit area at 9 a.m. Tuesday, more than two weeks after he took an unexpected romp to the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C.

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The red panda who escaped from the National Zoo last month is back in his exhibit. Rusty was released into his Asia Trail exhibit area at 9 a.m. Tuesday, more than two weeks after he took an unexpected romp to the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C.
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Zookeepers said he escaped either the evening of June 23 or the following morning, most likely aided by the tree canopy in his habitat. He was recaptured the afternoon of June 24 after a resident tweeted a photo of him hopping into greenery alongside a home at 20th and Biltmore streets NW.
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Tree limbs and bamboo are believed to have drooped and grown during heavy rain, aiding in his escape and "effectively creating a bridge," keepers said in a release.
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Prior to his return, the vegetation in and around his enclosure was significantly cut back, and some new wires will give him a small shock if he climbs too high. He'll also be brought to an interior enclosure at night -- just to be safe -- for at least a week.
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"Stay at home," said zoo visitor Juliana Sequeir. "You don't have to run away."
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"He's been in his corner for awhile and he's still grounded," quipped the zoo's Don Moore.
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Rusty is the first animal to go missing from the zoo in recent memory.
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Rusty got a rabies booster shot upon his return to the zoo and spent some time in the zoo's hospital as a precaution. He now has a clean bill of health.
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