How the Columbus Zoo and guests helped safely recover Kora the Red Panda

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium went on a day-long search mission after a red panda named Kora went missing Wednesday.

“It began with a couple of guests spotting her over by the rhino yard,” said Doug Warmolts, vice president of animal care at the Columbus Zoo.

According to a Facebook post, Megan Holliday and her friend, Nicole Pearson, alerted staff when they saw Kora sitting high up in a tree. Coincidentally, Griffin Boggs, a server at Riverside Grill, also saw Kora at about the same time.

“I saw her tail and I thought I caught a glimpse of her face, and it was the rhino exhibit and obviously it wasn’t a rhino,” Boggs said.

But Kora didn’t stay put.

“By the time we got a team assembled, she had moved from the rhino yard through this dense vegetation across the entrance to the elephants’ entrance,” Warmolts said.

To coax Kora down, team members brought out her two cubs to squeal for her. Kora started to come down but decided against it and scrambled back up the tree.

“We didn’t want to lose her again so our veterinary staff were able to very skillfully put a dart tranquilizer in her hip,” Warmolts said.

Kora fell from the tree safely into a net waiting for her about 10 feet below.

After a night in the hospital and clean bill of health, Kora was reintroduced to her cubs Friday morning.

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