WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Zoo says a red panda likely escaped from its enclosure this week by climbing through tree limbs to reach bamboo nearby.
The zoo announced Friday that it conducted a thorough assessment of the enclosure and reviewed photos and security footage. The male red panda named Rusty was found Monday afternoon along a sidewalk and later in a tree in Washington's Adams Morgan neighborhood.
Animal care staff believe Rusty left his exhibit Sunday night or early Monday through the tree canopy. Zookeepers say rain may have been a factor. The rain had lowered tree limbs in Rusty's exhibit, allowing him to reach tall bamboo outside of the exhibit.
No red panda tracks were found outside the exhibit, so zookeepers couldn't determine the exact route of Rusty's escape.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)