Bon Voyage, Bao Bao! National Zoo Panda Heads to China Soon

WASHINGTON (AP) — Visitors only have two more weeks to catch Bao Bao at the National Zoo before the 3-year-old panda flies to her new home in China.

The zoo tweeted Monday that Bao Bao will move to China on Feb. 21. The zoo recently announced a celebration of Bao Bao starting Feb. 16 in anticipation of her departure.

The zoo’s cooperative breeding agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association requires all cubs born at the zoo move to China by the time they turn 4 years old. Bao Bao turns 4 on Aug. 23.

Bao Bao is the first surviving cub born at the zoo since 2005. Older brother Tai Shan left for China in 2010. Their mother, Mei Xiang, has since had a third surviving cub, Bei Bei, who was born on Aug. 22, 2015.

The zoo is hosting a number of public events to bid Bao Bao farewell.

On Feb. 21, a special forklift will transport Bao Bao’s transport crate to a waiting FedEx truck, which will then take her to Dulles International Airport where she’ll board the “FedEx Panda Express” a special Boeing 777 outfitted with custom decals for a nonstop flight to Chengu, China along with a crew of animal-care experts.

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