Columbus Zoo searching for missing red panda

A red panda is missing at the Columbus Zoo.
A red panda is missing at the Columbus Zoo.(Grahm S. Jones | Columbus Zoo)
Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 8:10 AM EDT
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POWELL, Ohio (AP) - Staff at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium were searching dense vegetation within the complex for a red panda that disappeared from its habitat.

The small nocturnal mammal, which is about the size of a raccoon, was last seen in her Asia Quest habitat on Tuesday evening.

“Red pandas are excellent climbers and live in trees,” the zoo said in a statement on Facebook. Following strong overnight storms, the search had centered on bent or broken tree branches leading to public pathways.

The zoo said the red panda does not pose a threat to the public, but other animals living nearby were brought indoors as a precaution to aid in the search.

Security camera footage has not yielded clues about her disappearance.

The zoo said the red panda recently gave birth to two cubs who are still nursing. Her care team believes the animal is “close by and that she may return on her own, due to her two cubs.”

The zoo advised anyone who encounters the red panda not to approach it because the animal could be frightened.

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