Bao Bao, the giant panda born in US zoo, begins new life in China

Giant panda Bao Bao sits in her outdoor habitat at the Smithsonian's National Zoo on Feb 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Giant panda Bao Bao sits in her outdoor habitat at the Smithsonian's National Zoo on Feb 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - Bao Bao, the giant panda that was born at the National Zoo in Washington, has arrived in China.

A video shows the 3-year-old panda landing at an airport in Chengdu in south-west China on Wednesday evening (Feb 22).

Bao Bao left the US zoo on Tuesday, where zookeepers, staff and well-wishers said their goodbyes to the giant panda that was born at the zoo in 2013.

She and several zoo staffers flew on a FedEx plane on a 16-hour flight to China.

 

Katharine Hope, the veterinarian who was aboard with Bao Bao, said the panda was happy and comfortable. She said Bao Bao ate, drank and slept the whole trip.

The zoo staff will help the panda transition to her new home in Chengdu. Now that she's in China, she will go into quarantine at the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda in Dujiangyan, Sichuan province.

Bao Bao will enter the giant panda breeding program when she is about five or six years old.

Most giant pandas around the world are on loan from China and cubs that are born abroad are sent to the Chinese breeding programme before they turn four.

The National Zoo has had pandas since the 1970s. Bao Bao's older brother, Tai Shan, moved to China in 2010.

The zoo still has three other giant pandas.