Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Red Panda Escapes From Zoo Exhibit Again

Virginia Zoo officials on Monday began trimming the landscaping around a new red panda exhibit after the animal escaped for the second time in less than a month. Yin, a 1-year-old that resembles a raccoon with red, white and black fur, was discovered missing from her exhibit Saturday. On June 21, Yin made visitors wait two hours until she emerged from her habitat for her debut only to escape into a nearby tree. "She's just testing every limit that might be in the exhibit," zoo director Greg Bockheim said. After the zoo opened Saturday, zookeepers discovered Yin was missing. They located her near the bison exhibit, then she scampered to a tree near the back of the duck pond. Bockheim climbed about 30 feet up to retrieve her, but Yin scurried down to the zookeepers. She also was found hiding in a tree near the duck pond after she escaped the first time. "She's a character," said Alison Till, the zoo's director of development. How and why she escaped from her habitat, which includes an air-conditioned bamboo hut and logs for climbing, is unclear.

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