Pandemonium: Rusty the Red Panda Escapes the Zoo

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  • At 7:30 am, June 24, 2013, zoo keepers at the National Zoological Park noticed that one of the red pandas had escaped from his habitat. The Zoo immediately went to Code Green, or a missing animal alert, and the search commenced. The escapee, Rusty, a less than a year old red panda, took up residency at the Zoo in late April of 2013, and had just gone out on exhibit. Unfamiliar with the Zoo rules, he decided to take a stroll through the surrounding neighborhood, escaping at some point during the night of June 23.
  • Zoo staff and the public began searching and soon, through social media, including Twitter, the Zoo got wind of Rusty sightings. The Zoo's Twitter feed included tweets from Rusty and tips on what to do if you saw him. Rusty was spotted throughout the nearby Adams Morgan neighborhood, including when he was on the run at 21st and Biltmore Streets. Around 2:00 pm, the Washington Humane Society located Rusty in a tree. Zoo and Humane Society staff got the little guy back into a crate and safely home to the Zoo.


  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • Washington Humane Society (Washington, D.C.)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Michael E. Ruane and Trishula Patel, "Missing red panda found in Adams Morgan," Washington Post Online, June 24, 2013.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


June 24, 2013


  • Animals
  • Zoos
  • Social media
  • Rusty (Red Panda)
  • Escapes
  • Red panda


Adams Morgan (Washington, D.C.)

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