Missing red panda found safe after escaping California zoo

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Masala, The Red Panda Who Escaped From A Eureka Zoo, Has Been Found.

EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — A red panda that went missing three days ago from a zoo on California’s far north coast has been safely located and returned to her home in Eureka.“She will be in quarantine under staff care for a while to ensure all is well before she is reunited with her family,” the Facebook post said. “We will let you know when you can visit!” The Eureka Times Standard reports Sunday (http://sfg.ly/1I4Ocpf ) that the tiny creature named Masala was found safe and sound Saturday night and is back at the Sequoia Park Zoo. Zoo manager Gretchen Ziegler says that any resident who spots the 1 1/2-year old panda should not approach it, but try not to lose sight of it and call the zoo or police.

She was cruising down the street near the corner of Hodgson and Q like a common raccoon, searching for God knows what — shelter, bamboo, some other creature comfort — and thinking thoughts that will forever be hidden to us. Once they got there, they were able to lure Masala down the 10-foot tree with food; a good strategy for the capture of both animals and humans alike, really. At that moment, at that intersection, Eureka resident Loretta Hancock was headed toward the Fresh Freeze to grab some food when she noticed a bustling red something hanging out near a fire hydrant. According to Ziegler, this is where she should have been before she escaped because she is due to go to the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee sometime after Thanksgiving.

She also said that zoo managers still don’t know how Masala got out in the first place, calling it a “freak anomaly.” Either way, she’s just happy the panda’s back, and told the Times-Standard, “It’s a dangerous world out there. Then she called 911. “Last night, with all the efforts of people searching and everything, I just happened upon her,” Hancock — a self-described animal lover — mused to the Outpost this morning, sounding a bit like someone who had just won the lottery. At press time, it is believed the other pandas are skeptical of her accounts of the phenomenon of ‘Black Friday,’ as no rational creature would camp out six days before a sale.

Ziegler said she cried tears of joy when they found Masala and that she and the zoo staff slept much more soundly last night knowing the panda was safe. There was some talk of tranquilizer darts, said Hancock, who stayed on the scene for the duration of the rescue, but the main idea was to lure the animal down with bamboo and other treats.

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