Tai Shan Free to Roam in China

D.C.'s own freed from quarantine

By Jim Iovino
|  Tuesday, Mar 9, 2010  |  Updated 12:34 PM EDT
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Tai Shan's Last Day

China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda

Tai Shan mugs it up for the camera.

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Tai Shan is finally free to meet and greet his new fans in China.

After a month in quarantine, D.C.'s hometown panda is on public display for the first time since his much-anticipated arrival in Chengdu.

Visitors and staff cheered and waved as the 4-year-old panda born and raised at the National Zoo rolled up in a cage carried on a bright green buggy to his enclosure at a panda breeding base in Sichuan province.

Tai Shan and another American-born giant panda, 3-year-old Mei Lan, were flown to China via Panda Express last month. Mei Lan is also due to leave quarantine, but it's not immediately clear when she will be shown to the public.

Tai Shan was released into a 320-square-foot room attached to a large garden enclosure at the Ya'an Bifeng Gorge Breeding Base, where staff members say Tai Shan is adjusting well to his new surrounding in his "motherland."

Just last week pictures were released of Tai snacking on panda bread and bamboo and enjoying the snowy scenery at his new home. There were also reports that he was able to pick up some Chinese -- no doubt so he can acquire even more panda bread and bamboo. 

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