Rusty the red panda escaped from the National Zoo, and for a few hours Monday was the second-most famous fugitive on the planet, at least to Washingtonians. Rusty-as-Snowden quickly turned into a Twitter meme.
First Ed Snowden, then Rusty the red panda. They were both on the lam Monday, and like everything else connected to Washington, there was a political angle.
At the National Zoo, Rusty the red panda – not to be confused with his more famous zoo-mates, the giant pandas – was last seen at 6 p.m. Sunday. By Monday morning, the zoo had put out an all-points bulletin, alerting the public and warning that if found, to exercise caution. If cornered, Rusty could bite.
At 2:24 p.m. Eastern time, the zoo tweeted out that Rusty had been captured safe and sound, put in a crate and was heading back to the zoo. Turns out he had made it all the way to 20th and Biltmore Streets NW, in the nearby neighborhood of Adams Morgan, according to The Washington Post.
Mr. Snowden, the former government contractor charged with leaking top secret national security information, is still at large, presumably somewhere in Russia, after boarding a flight Sunday from Hong Kong to Moscow. He had been booked onto a flight to Cuba on Monday, but was a no-show.
And for a few hours Monday, Snowden was the perfect foil for Rusty the red panda. In a flash, Rusty became the second most famous fugitive on the planet.