Rusty, the red panda housed at the Smithsonian National Zoo in
At approximately 1:30 p.m. Eastern time, Washington resident Ashley Foughty tweeted zoo officials with a picture of the panda in her neighborhood, near 20th NW and Biltmore. The zoo has since announced that Rusty had been recovered, treated and was headed back to the zoo.
At NBC News, chief White House correspondent Peter Alexander took some time out from covering other matters of national security to keep Twitter readers up-to-date on the missing critter.
Rusty made his debut at the zoo in early June, where he traveled from the Lincoln Children's Zoo in Lincoln, Neb. He has been paired with the female red panda Shama in an attempt to have them mate. While Shama had been spotted in their display area as of Monday, Rusty went missing.
Zoo officials have stated they are unsure how Rusty got out of his enclosure and had speculated that he may have been hiding in a tree, sick or dead, or was taken by a visitor.
While a missing red panda isn't on the level of importance to the Washington culture as the fugitive
Newt Gingrich offered up his own bizarre alibi, tweeting, "In response to red panda charges, I have an alibi, Callista and I were feeding our pet elephants all evening ( just a joke) help find panda."