Missing red panda found, is back in habitat at Columbus Zoo

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Credit: Grahm S. Jones

Credit: Grahm S. Jones

A missing red panda is reunited with her two cubs and is back in her habitat at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Two zoo visitors spotted the animal, Kora, on the ground Thursday afternoon in dense foliage between the rhino habitat and the entrance to the pachyderm building. She was discovered missing from her habitat Wednesday morning after she had last been seen Tuesday evening, according to a statement posted on the zoo’s social media page.

The two visitors who spotted Kora reported their sighting around 4:45 p.m.

“As the team arrived to respond, Kora climbed high into a nearby tree,” the zoo posted on its Facebook page.

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Credit: Amanda Carberry

To help coax her down, zoo staff brought her favorite treats, and when that did not work they brought out her two cubs. She was attentive to their sounds and moved toward them but remained in the tree.

“Because rain clouds were moving into the area and the team did not want to risk prolonging her return with evening approaching, the decision was made to tranquilize her. She was asleep just six minutes later and at 5:56 p.m., she fell 10 feet into the waiting net of the response team,” the zoo posted. “Amid clapping and happy tears from zoo team members, the sleeping Kora was placed in her crate and taken to the zoo’s animal health center for evaluation where she was provided care and given a clean bill of health.”

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Credit: Amanda Carberry

Kora has since been returned to her habitat in Asia Quest with her two cubs.

Red pandas are small, non-threatening and shy nocturnal mammals about the size of a raccoon.

The zoo said her care team will continue their overnight watch to make sure she and her cubs do well, and the red panda father, General Tso, will be able to join them in the morning.

While Kora was missing, zoo staff made sure her cubs were taken care of.

“They were fed with a specialized formula last night as well as this morning, and they did well, with full bellies and contented napping,” the zoo posted earlier Thursday. “We’re continuing to monitor them closely, yet minimizing interactions as we await Kora’s return.”

The Asia Quest area was open to zoo guests Thursday, but some animals remained indoors as staff continued to search for Kora.

RED PANDA UPDATE: We continue to look for female red panda, Kora, who was discovered missing from her habitat Wednesday...

Posted by Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Thursday, July 23, 2020