Missing red panda at Ohio zoo found after dramatic negotiation

A red panda when went missing from her enclosure at a Columbus, Ohio zoo was found.

Kora, the 2-year-old red panda, was found Thursday evening, according to The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

The zoo had announced on Wednesday that the diminutive, raccoon-like creature had gone missing. Zookeepers who care for her had hoped she would return on her own, since she recently gave birth to two cubs who are still nursing.

Instead, Kora was spotted by two guests on Thursday evening, the zoo said in a Facebook post. They saw her among the dense foliage between the rhino habitat and the entrance to the Pachyderm Building in the Zoo’s Asia Quest region, the zoo said. The guests alerted the zoo authorities who rushed to the scene.

But, Kora wasn’t about to give up her new found freedom easily. She climbed high into a nearby tree as they arrived, the zoo said in its post. The team brought her favorite treats to coax her down, and when that didn’t work, they brought out her cubs.

While she responded to the cubs’ cries and moved towards them, she remained in the tree. And, as rain clouds were moving into the area the zoo team made the decision to tranquilize her, the zoo said.

Kora gently fell into the waiting net of the response team amid clapping and happy tears, the zoo said. The sleeping red panda was placed in her crate and taken to the Zoo’s Animal Health Center for evaluation, where she was given a clean bill of health.