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Red panda escapes from San Diego Zoo enclosure

Red Panda Escape
Red Panda Escape

A red panda escaped from its San Diego Zoo enclosure Sunday after climbing a tree and jumping to an adjacent tree outside of its open air habitat. Zookeepers were able to lure it back hours later.

A red panda surprised visitors at the San Diego Zoo when it climbed a tree and escaped its enclosure before zookeepers were able to lure it back.

The 2-year-old red panda named Adira scaled a tree Sunday and then jumped to another tree outside of her enclosed open air habitat in front of surprised onlookers.

Zoo officials immediately evacuated visitors and closed the area as they worked to lure the panda out of the adjacent tree and back into her enclosure.

“Wildlife care specialists found that a female red panda had climbed into a tree adjacent to her habitat in the Zoo’s Panda Canyon,” San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance said in a statement. “We consider this a non-emergency situation.”

“Red pandas spend most of their time in trees and are excellent climbers,” a spokesperson told The San Diego Union-Tribune in an email. “It never left the area and remained in the tree.”

After several hours and much prodding by zookeepers, Adira eventually climbed back into the tree inside of her habitat. No injuries were reported. Zoo officials said they plan to trim the trees to prevent another escape.

Red pandas are native to southwestern China and the eastern Himalayas. They also are endangered.

“With their bushy tail for balance — which can be as long as their body — and claws for gripping, red pandas are acrobatic tree dwellers. Most of their time is spent in trees, and the red panda’s cinnamon red coat, occasionally saddled with orange or yellow, and soft cream-colored face mask give great camouflage among the red moss and white lichen that cover the tree trunks of their bamboo forest homes,” according to the San Diego Zoo’s website.

Adira has been a part of the San Diego Zoo’s red panda exhibit since September, when she was transferred from Toronto Zoo through the Red Panda Species Survival Plan.

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