POWELL, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced Thursday that Kora, the red panda who was discovered missing from her habitat during the morning hours of Wednesday was found safe and sound.
Zoo officials said in a Facebook post that two visitors spotted Kora on the ground, in dense foliage between the rhino habitat and the entrance of the Pachyderm Building in the Zoo’s Asia Quest region.
Kora had recently given birth to cubs and zoo officials correctly guessed that she wouldn’t stray far from them.
The visitors alerted zoo staff around 4:43 p.m., and the Security and Animal Health Teams were notified.
Team members tried to coax Kora down, but the rust-colored mammal climbed high into a nearby tree. When she rejected an offering of her favorite treats, zoo staff brought her vocalizing cubs. The zoo said Kora was “attentive to their sounds and moved toward them,” but she refused to leave the tree.
With ugly weather threatening, the response teams decided they couldn’t wait and tranquilized Kora, who fell minutes later into a net below.
The dozing panda was taken to the Animal Health Center and given a clean bill of health before she was released back into her Asia Quest habitat to reunite wiht her cubs.
“Her care team will continue their overnight watch to ensure they continue to do well, and red panda father, General Tso, will have the opportunity to join them in the morning,” the zoo stated. “The Columbus Zoo thanks our community members for the wonderful outpouring of support and offers of assistance while Kora was missing.”