Red Panda, Kora, found safe at Columbus Zoo


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.

Kora was spotted by two guests who noticed her on the ground among dense foliage between the rhino habitat and the entrance of the Pachyderm Building in the Zoo’s Asia Quest region.

As previously suspected by her care team members, she was not far from her habitat and her cubs. The guests quickly reported their sighting to team members at 4:43 p.m., who then immediately called the Zoo’s Security and Animal Health teams.

As the team arrived to respond, Kora climbed high into a nearby tree. In attempt to coax her down, the team brought her favorite treats and, when that did not work, they carefully brought out her vocalizing cubs. While she was attentive to their sounds and moved toward them, she remained in the tree just above the rooftop of the Pachyderm Building.

Because rain clouds were moving into the area and the team did not want to risk prolonging her return with evening approaching, the decision was made to tranquilize her. She was asleep just six minutes later and at 5:56 p.m., she fell 10 feet into the waiting net of the response team.

Kora was then placed in her crate and taken to the Zoo’s Animal Health Center for evaluation where she was provided care and given a clean bill of health.

Kora has since been returned to her habitat in Asia Quest, where she will have the opportunity to reunite with her cubs when she wakes. 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.

Red pandas are not a threat to the public. They are beautiful, gentle creatures that mostly sleep in trees during the day.

For Hampton Roads residents, this incident likely brings back memories of Sunny, the red panda who disappeared from the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk in January 2017 and never came home.

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