The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC lost a red panda, aptly named Rusty, over the weekend. To find him the zoo turned to social media, namely Twitter for help.

Poor Rusty had only been a resident at the zoo for three weeks and was acquired as a breeding partner for a female called Shama. He obviously didn’t feel up to the job and went walk-about. The zoo on the other hand were obviously keen to retrieve him and on Monday morning tweeted that he hadn’t been seen since Sunday evening.

Rusty the red panda

The zoo tweeted information about the likely whereabouts of the missing red panda. This particular type of panda is known for not wandering far from their home territory and so assuming Rusty had not been stolen, it made sense to the keepers that he would be sheltering amongst trees or dense foliage somewhere near to the zoo itself.

Within hours of the tweet being made, #redpanda was the top trending topic in the city. It took only three hours from people being alerted to his disappearance, to someone spotting him. The New York Times reported that a user called Ashley Foughty took a picture of Rusty in the Adams Morgan district of the city and tweeted it to the zoo.

Once Rusty has been safely collected, the zoo tweeted ” Rusty has returned from his trip to Adams Morgan and is getting a checkup at our vet hospital”.  They also included a picture of him getting fed in his cage.

[Image via Twitter]

SOURCE: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-06/25/red-panda-social-media-hunt