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Red panda found in fig tree after escaping Australian zoo

Adelaide Zoo director Phil Ainsley said red pandas are incredibly agile, and renowned for being escapologists.

A red panda that spent two days on the run after escaping from an Australian zoo was recaptured Sunday after he was spotted hanging out in a fig tree in a nearby park.

Ravi, seven, had arrived at Adelaide Zoo last week after being brought in from another zoo in the hope that he would pair up with a female red panda named Mishry.

But by Friday, Ravi was gone.

Adelaide Zoo director Phil Ainsley told the Australian Broadcasting Corp that zookeepers spent Sunday trying to entice Ravi down from the fig tree with some of his favourite foods, including bamboo and sweetcorn, to no avail.

Red panda
Zoo keepers prepare to catch Ravi (Australian Broadcasting Corporation/AP)

In the end they fired a tranquiliser dart.

“We used a couple of different dart devices, finally got a dart into him and then just had to wait about 15 minutes just for the drug to take some effect,” Mr Ainsley said.

Ravi then fell into the blankets of zookeepers who were waiting beneath the tree.

“Ravi’s doing really well,” Mr Ainsley said.

“Settling down into animal health hospital, where he’s just going to spend the next two or three days after being on the run.

Red panda
The panda escaped from his enclosure at the Adelaide Zoo (Australian Broadcasting Corporation/AP)

“Just want to make sure he’s all healthy and recovered from his adventure.”

Mr Ainsley said they discovered Ravi had escaped on Friday and initially focused their attention within the zoo, thinking he would be up one of the large trees there.

It was not until Sunday that a zookeeper spotted him in the fig tree in the nearby botanic park.

Mr Ainsley said they would be reviewing the zoo’s CCTV footage to find out how Ravi escaped.

“Obviously he’d just arrived and was testing his enclosure,” Mr Ainsley said.

“We know that red pandas are incredibly agile, and renowned for being escapologists.”