TOM AND CURLEY

The great Woodland Park Zoo red panda escape

Dec 28, 2018, 5:27 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2018, 9:03 am
woodland park zoo panda...
(Photo: Elaine Thompson with The Associated Press)
(Photo: Elaine Thompson with The Associated Press)

As Morgan Freeman said in “The Shawshank Redemption,” geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes really, pressure and time–that, and a tree branch breaking.

And so it was for a pair of scrappy twin red panda cubs at Woodland Park Zoo, who found themselves standing atop a branch that broke and carried them to freedom just outside their exhibit Wednesday evening, reports KIRO 7.

Normally in these situations, the runaways hop a bus to Mexico, dye their fur, and keep a low profile with an under-the-table job. But Zeya and Ila were not quite that resourceful.

When they landed on the ground after falling from the tree, the twin pandas used their newfound freedom to climb up different, adjacent trees, showing no interest in actually leaving the zoo. Nonetheless, a 15-hour panda standoff ensued.

That’s because both didn’t want to come down from their individual trees. It’s not often that you get a tree to yourself. Zeya was lured down from her tree around midnight, but Ila — clearly the brains behind the operation — squatted in her tall tree until the next day.

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No firefighters were called, and zoo officials did not cut the tree down to send a message to the other pandas. Instead, they tempted the furry fugitive with apples — her favorite food — and she headed down on her own around noon, which was the tree’s checkout time anyway.

Once both animals were secured, they were returned to their exhibits, and probably exchanged ripping tales of the adventures they had just a few feet outside the cage.

Tom and Curley on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
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The great Woodland Park Zoo red panda escape