Giant Panda Bao Bao Arrives Safely in China

Giant Panda Bao Bao Arrives Safely in China

Giant Panda Bao Bao Arrives Safely in China

The National Zoo in Washington has said its final goodbye to its panda cub Bao Bao. Bao Bao, 3, will be welcomed aboard the FedEx Panda Express for safe travels to Chengdu, China, on Tuesday. The plane is scheduled to leave Washington's Dulles Airport at 1.30pm.

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The cub won't have to worry about finding overhead bin space or dealing with a talkative seatmate on the 16-hour, nonstop flight Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday. Since she loves bamboo, they are going to take 50 pounds of it along with sweet potatoes and apples.

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Bao Bao delighted the zoo and panda fans when she was born August 23, 2013. In time, when she reaches sexual maturity, between 5 and 6 years old, she'll become part of a panda breeding program.

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Here is a timeline of Bao Bao's final day before she takes her flight. 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. Then, a cub born in 2012 didn't survive. In the week leading up to her departure, the zoo held a series of events, including spectators getting to watch Bao Bao paint, and presenting the panda with her traveling "suitcase" which contained gifts symbolizing her new and old cities. Bao Bao's younger brother, Bei Bei, will remain in the zoo for now as he is less than two years old. Under an agreement forged in the Nixon era, all pandas leased to the United States by China still belong to Beijing, and foreign-born panda cubs, instilled with Chinese panda habits and behaviors, are generally sent there at around four years old to join a breeding program. She will arrive to China tomorrow. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are the zoo's second panda pair.

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