Rusty the red panda makes his post-escape zoo debut

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Rusty the red panda was captured from a tree after escaping from his enclosure in June. Click on the picture to view more images.

WASHINGTON — Just a few weeks after his great escape from the National Zoo, Rusty the red panda returned to his enclosure on Tuesday.

The male panda escaped and was discovered missing on June 24 and an immediate search began.

After several hours, the red panda was spotted in Adams Morgan. Authorities managed to capture him from up a tree he had climbed.

Rusty was returned to the zoo but remained in the vet’s animal hospital for monitoring.

How he escaped is still a mystery, though. Zoo officials began reviewing security footage Monday morning to see if there is any evidence of how Rusty escaped or whether he may have been taken by a human and then set loose.

Rusty arrived at the zoo in April from a zoo in Lincoln, Neb., and was in quarantine for several weeks until he went on exhibit in early June. He will turn 1 in July.

Here’s a video of Rusty and his mate Shama playing on Tuesday.

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