"Jang" escaped from his enclosure on Thursday but has been found lurking in the nearby treetops. Red pandas are an "endangered" species, with fewer than 10,000 of them left in the wild.
A red panda that went missing at a German zoo earlier this week has been found, ending a 36-hour search for the animal.
"Jang" went missing early on Thursday, prompting Duisburg Zoo staff to begin a search for the red panda — a species on the "endangered" list.
Binoculars and thermal imaging cameras were used as a thorough search got underway in the hope of finding the wayward animal. A thermal imaging drone was also deployed Friday morning to assist in the aerial search, which was eventually brought to a happy conclusion when the long-tailed panda was found lurking in a treetop on the zoo grounds.
A team retrieved Jang using a fire brigade aerial ladder. The rescuers then took him to the zoo's own veterinary practice for a checkup. The wayward panda was declared well enough to return to his enclosure shortly afterward.
Duisburg Zoo, located in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, believes the red panda climbed over the fence at one point and out of the enclosure with the help of a "plant climbing aid," the zoo said. As a result, staff cut back the vegetation before Jang returned to his enclosure.
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Unlike giant pandas, red pandas still 'endangered'
Apart from a weakness for bamboo, red pandas don't have much in common with their black-and-white namesakes.
The red panda is dwarfed by the black-and-white colossus that shares its name, with some giant pandas reaching over 1.5 meters (almost 5 feet) in height and weighing up to 150 kilograms (330 pounds), while red pandas typically grow to the size of a house cat.
Due to habitat loss and poaching, the red panda's very existence is under threat, with its wild population estimated at fewer than 10,000.
The giant panda came off the "endangered" list in 2016 after extensive conservation efforts in China. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) now classifies the panda as a "vulnerable" species, reflecting its growing numbers in southern China.