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Red Panda climbs tree, escapes from San Diego Zoo habitat; captured hours later

Adira, a 2-year-old Red Panda, "escaped" her habitat by climbing up a tree. Guests watched as zookeepers worked to persuade Adira back to her enclosure.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego Zoo guests were stunned to see a Red Panda that had climbed up a tree and out of its habitat early Sunday morning.

According to San Diego Zoo officials, Adira, a 2-year-old Red Panda, used her climbing skills to scale a tree into a neighboring enclosure.

Video shared with CBS 8 showed several lengthy trees spread across San Diego Zoo's sprawling outdoor animal enclosure, which is necessary for Red Pandas, with Adira perched high above the ground on a branch of a tree just outside her enclosure. 

"With their bushy tail for balance—which can be as long as their body—and claws for gripping, red pandas are acrobatic tree dwellers. Most of their time is spent in trees, and the red panda’s cinnamon red coat, occasionally saddled with orange or yellow, and soft cream-colored face mask give great camouflage among the red moss and white lichen that cover the tree trunks of their bamboo forest homes," San Diego Zoo's website detailed.

"Currently, here at the zoo, they blocked off the area for an animal procedure, but we walked down to the suspension bridge and saw that the red panda had escaped its habitat. They’re trying to get it down by shaking the branches," Allison Fortson shared on social media.

Adira was initially transferred to the San Diego Zoo in 2022 from Toronto Zoo at the recommendation of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan.

The immediate area around Adira's enclosure was evacuated and shut down while zookeepers worked to get Adira back on the ground and in her enclosure.

"We consider this a non-emergency situation," Darla Davis, a Senior Public Relations Representative with San Diego Zoo said.

Davis added that zoo officials were able to get Adira to climb back over a connecting tree into her habitat using recalling methods she's trained to understand.

Onlookers said it took zookeepers hours to persuade Adira back to the ground.

"Yeah, we watched from the bridge for an hour before they moved everyone away - finally left around 4 p.m., and they still hadn’t recovered her," Fortson said.

Zookeepers eventually got Adira to return to the ground and out of the trees.

Zoo officials said they would trim the trees in the habitat so this doesn't happen again.

No injuries to humans or animals were reported.

WATCH RELATED: Red Pandas debut at San Diego Zoo 1979


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