Red panda found safe after escape from NorCal zoo

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A red panda from the Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka, Calif.

EUREKA, Calif. – After an intense search effort in Eureka, Calif., a fluffy red panda was found unharmed and returned to the zoo from which she had escaped, officials said Sunday.

Masala – a young female panda – was found late Saturday night about  half a mile from the Sequoia Park Zoo, officials at the zoo said.

A resident spotted Masala near her home, called staff at the zoo and guided the panda into a fruit tree to prevent her from fleeing, zoo manager Gretchen Ziegler told the Eureka Times-Standard.

Masala was coaxed down from the tree and she remains in quarantine at the zoo, Ziegler said.

Since her escape Thursday, zoo and city officials had launched an extensive search effort. The panda posed no danger to the public, but officials were concerned about safety of the rare animal.

Read the full story at Los Angeles Times.