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Red panda escapes from Fargo zoo, found grooming itself in nearby tree

No word on how the little bugger got out.

Sheffield the red panda is back in its home at the Red River Zoo in Fargo after escaping and hanging out in a tree on Thursday. 

The red panda, an endangered species, was missing from its holding facility when zookeepers conducted a routine inspection around 8:15 a.m.

Staff began an immediate search but came up with nothing, issuing a statement on Facebook saying they "strongly suspect" the animal to be on zoo property "but not visible due to the dense tree coverage on site." 

It was a good guess as to the red panda's location, but he was actually spotted by a community member in a pine tree – grooming himself – outside the zoo.

Zoo staff were able to coax him out of the tree without the use of sedatives, and Sheffield was back in his holding facility around 11 p.m.

“I am so grateful for the work of our dedicated team and the outpouring of support from our community,” said Sally Jacobson, the Red River Zoo’s Executive Director.

While the red panda was missing, zoo staff informed the public that they were not in danger but to avoid the red panda was a precaution. 

According to World Wildlife, the red panda is a little bit bigger than a house cat but has a "bear-like body and thick russet fur." They're considered acrobatic and enjoy spending most of their time in trees. 

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