Red Panda goes missing -- and was later found

WASHINGTON (KTLA) – A red panda named Rusty was missing from the Smithsonian National Zoo Monday, according to zoo officials.

First reported missing at 8 a.m. Monday, Rusty was finally captured around 2:30 p.m. about a mile away from his enclosure, zoo officials posted to Facebook.

Officials said Rusty could be sick and in hiding, or someone could have taken him.

Red pandas are arboreal, territorial animals, so it was unlikely that Rusty wandered far from his exhibit, according to a post on the zoo’s Twitter page.

Red pandas spend most of the warm daytime hours resting, so officials combed the trees around the zoo to find Rusty.

The zoo warned that if visitors spotted Rusty they should not approach him, but tell an official or call the zoo at 202-633-4888.

Rusty courtesy Smithsonian National Zoo

Click here for updates on the Smithsonian National Zoo Twitter page.