S Bao Bao Through the YearsSmithsonian's National Zoo
24 February, 2017, 00:14
The zoo packed up the American-born panda Tuesday for a one-way flight to China, where the 3-year-old will eventually join a panda breeding program.
Bao Bao the panda has now left the National Zoo and is currently on a flight that will take her to China.
She will remain at Dujiangyan after the quarantine and enter the giant panda breeding program when she reaches 5 or 6 years old, the zoo reported.
Bao Bao takes a nibble at her toes.
"Everyone here at the zoo, the millions of people at the zoo and the millions more on the webcams around the world are all going to miss her tremendously", Brandie Smith, associate director of Animal Care Sciences, told ABC News.
Caretakers will be on hand to make sure Bao Bao's 8,000-mile journey is a comfortable one.
That's right, our beloved Bao Bao, the giant panda born in August 2013, shipped off for China on Tuesday.
Get free real-time news alerts from the Washington DC Patch. Bao Bao, whose specially built crate was placed on a truck for the trip to the airport, will travel with a supply of snacks including 55lbs (25kg) of bamboo, 5lbs (2kg) of apples and 2lbs (1kg) of sweet potatoes.
Since then, Bao Bao, whose name means "precious treasure" in Chinese, has grown from about the size of a stick of butter to more than 200 pounds. But there are 12 other giant pandas in the USA you can still visit. In about two years, Bei Bei will travel to China to join Bao Bao and big brother Tai Shan, who was born at the National Zoo in 2005.
The pandas are on loan at the Smithsonian Zoo until the age of four. She will arrive to China tomorrow. Bao Bao's younger brother, Bei Bei, will remain in the zoo for now as he is less than two years old. The pair had five cubs while living at the zoo, but none survived.
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