DC panda fans sad as Bao Bao leaves for China

Feb 24, 2017, 00:14
DC panda fans sad as Bao Bao leaves for China

Bao Bao the panda has left Washington Zoo in the United States to start a new life in China. Bao Bao will turn 4 on August 23, 2017.

Bao Bao (rhymes with now-now) examines an ice cake Monday, her last full day at the National Zoo in Washington.

Caretakers will be on hand to make sure Bao Bao's 8,000-mile journey is a comfortable one.

Bao Bao, who now weighs around 200lbs (90kg), has been a central attraction at the national zoo since her birth in August 2013. Her cage was then loaded onto a plane emblazoned with a picture of a giant panda. She'll be in quarrantine for approximately 30 days at the China Conservation and Research Center Dujiangyan Panda Base.

The panda is the first surviving cub born at the National Zoo since 2005.

The zoo has a long-standing agreement with China to return the cubs to breed once they start to mature. She gets to travel with 55 pounds of bamboo, two pounds of apples, two bags of leaf-eater biscuits, two pounds of cooked sweet potatoes and 10 gallons of water.

After an online vote, the cub was named "Bao Bao", (pronounced Bow-Bow) which translates as "precious" or "treasure".

Laurie Thompson, the assistant curator of giant pandas, said keepers have been preparing Bao Bao to leave for China since she was born, teaching her behaviors that will allow her Chinese keepers to do things like draw blood and perform ultrasounds.

"We're ready. We've done our part, and we're ready to send her to China so she can have her own babies someday", Thompson said. Their third cub, Bao Bao's younger brother Bei Bei, was born in 2015 and will remain at the zoo for now.

There are three pandas at the San Diego Zoo.

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