Community Searches for Missing Red Panda; Meanwhile, She Allegedly Takes to Twitter to Tell Her Side

Sequoia Park Zoo Manager Gretchen Ziegler addressed volunteers who had assembled to search for Marsala an 18-month-old red panda that escaped from its zoo enclosure Thursday.

Sequoia Park Zoo Manager Gretchen Ziegler addressed volunteers who had assembled to search for Marsala an 18-month-old red panda that escaped from its zoo enclosure Thursday.

Approximately 40 people gathered at the Sequoia Park Zoo at 8:30 a.m. Saturday to help in the search for Masala, an 18 month old red panda missing from the Eureka zoo since Thursday. Zoo officials were still unable to determine exactly how Masala got out of her enclosure. According to Gretchen Ziegler, the zoo’s manager, “It was like she flew out.”

Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation Event and Volunteer Coordinator Chelsa Green, addresses volunteers gather at the zoo Saturday morning to look for Marsala, a missing 18 month old red panda that escaped from the zoo on Thursday.

Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation Event and Volunteer Coordinator Chelsa Green, addresses volunteers gather at the zoo Saturday morning to look for Marsala, a missing 18 month old red panda that escaped from the zoo on Thursday.

The volunteers were organized into teams of at least two people and broken up into groups searching for the panda and groups mapping the location of bamboo within the search area. Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation Event and Volunteer Coordinator Chelsa Green assigned teams handing out maps and giving instructions to the volunteers. Some of the volunteers heading out to search took branches of bamboo provided by the zoo as they went to their designated areas.
Volunteers searching for Masala, the missing red panda, leave the Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka with bamboo as they head to their assigned search area Saturday Morning.

Volunteers searching for Masala, the missing red panda, leave the Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka with bamboo as they head to their assigned search area Saturday Morning.

Nancy Kinziger of McKinleyville brought her son Benjamin, 8, and daughter Ada, 6, to help in the search. Benjamin brought his stuffed red panda doll as a good luck charm. Kinziger said her family has a family membership to the zoo and they love the red pandas.
Nancy Kinziger and her children Ada, 6, and Benjamin, 8, of McKinleyville, came to help search for the Sequoia Park Zoo's missing red panda masala. Benjamin brought along a stuffed red panda from the zoo's gift shop as a good luck charm.

Nancy Kinziger and her children Ada, 6, and Benjamin, 8, of McKinleyville, came to help search for the Sequoia Park Zoo’s missing red panda masala. Benjamin brought along a stuffed red panda from the zoo’s gift shop as a good luck charm.

According to Ziegler, around 30 volunteers had aided in the search last night but that it had been 24 hours since a credible sighting of the panda. She added that the red panda can climb like a squirrel and could be high in a tree, but that she was most likely on the ground looking for a safe spot or food. Red pandas are most active at dusk and at dawn. Ziegler said that if the panda was spotted to not approach the animal but to immediately call the hotline number (707-499-3668.) The zoo has also released to media images and names of the types of bamboo that the red panda can eat. (Click here to see photos of the Red Panda’s favorite bamboo.)

A search dog named Elsi was brought in to try and find a scent trail of the missing red panda Masala. According to her handler conditions were fairly good for the Wilderness Trailing trained dog to follow a scent trail.

A search dog named Elsi was brought in to try and find a scent trail of the missing red panda Masala. According to her handler conditions were fairly good for the Wilderness Trailing trained dog to follow a scent trail.

Updates can be found on the zoo’s Facebook page. The hashtag #findmasala has been created to follow information and updates on the search on twitter. A red panda escaped from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. back in June and social media played a part in locating the escaped red panda named Rusty.

Sequoia Park Zoo Manager Gretchen Ziegler, left, talks with volunteer Wesley Frietas, of Eureka, about the location of bamboo he had found in the search area he was assigned Saturday Morning.

Sequoia Park Zoo Manager Gretchen Ziegler, left, talks with volunteer Wesley Frietas, of Eureka, about the location of bamboo he had found in the search area he was assigned Saturday Morning.

[Additional Info added by Kym Kemp] In the last day, a twitter account called Masala the Red Panda (@redpandaMasala) has sprung to life. It claims to be written by Masala and pokes fun at the local community while attempting to draw attention to the search for the missing animal.
Here’s a sampling of the tweets tickling the fancy of Twitter followers:

Oddly, there’s another twitter account also claiming to be Masala...Do we have an imposter?

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