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Rusty the red panda has been found after going missing from Washington's National Zoo

Rusty was found about a mile away from the zoo's entrance after he went missing Monday morning.
Red panda missingEnlarge
A red panda (also known as a lesser panda) relaxes in its enclosure at the Beijing zoo on June 24, 2013. (Mark Halston/AFP/Getty Images)

A young red panda named Rusty has been found after he went missing this morning from Washington's Smithsonian National Zoo, prompting a frenzied search and an even more-frenzied response online. 

The panda, less than a year old and roughly the size of a raccoon, escaped his enclosure since 7:30 this morning. The zoo sounded an alert for an escaped animal, called "Code Green," around 8 a.m., the Washington Post reported.

The zoo had been tweeting their search, and tweeted Monday afternoon that he'd been found:" 

National media outlets also expressed their relief over Rusty's safe return: 

At least 25 fake Rusty Twitter accounts have sprung up since the panda went missing. 

Rusty was spotted a little less than a mile from the zoo's entrance Monday afternoon by a woman named Ashley Foughty in Washington's Adams Morgan neighborhood, who snapped a few Twitter photos of the panda:

"We’re hoping he stays there until they make it,” she told Washington City Paper

The zoo has been searching for the missing critter all morning, said the zoo's communications director Pamela Baker-Masson.  

"It is most likely that he has not really left the vicinity. He would have to have some very strong motivation to leave the area, she said. 

According to the Zoo's website, Rusty is due to celebrate his first birthday in July. He came to the zoo from the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska, and was paired with another red panda for breeding.

Though they've been classified with the bear family and with procyonids, an animal family that includes raccoons, some are alleging that Rusty "isn't even a real panda."

Red pandas are now classified as the sole species in family Ailuridae, and are on the list of the planet's endangered species.

Here, some of the best tweets — both the concerned and the comical — about Rusty's disturbing disappearance. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/rusty-red-panda-missing-washington-national-zoo