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Giant panda soon to leave DC for China

16 February 2017, 11:39 | Winifred Adams

Officials at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. are preparing to bid a fond farewell to Bao Bao, a USA -born giant panda who will be leaving the land of her birth and heading to her ancestral home in China next week.

On the same day, a group of Bao Bao's keepers met with saddened fans, who have watched the female panda grow to a three-and-half-year animal after being born in the zoo on August 23, 2013.

Zookeepers have been training the panda to spend time inside the container in preparation for her 16 hour flight. All Bao Bao devotees are encouraged to make art and write letters for the panda to enjoy on her long trip to China.

Bao Bao will fly nonstop from Dulles, Virginia, to Chengdu, China, in a large crate aboard the custom-decaled "FedEx Panda Express" 777F aircraft.

For the trip, Bao Bao will get the celebrity treatment: a private plane flight, roomy accommodations, a motorcade to the airport and an onboard snack bar stocked with pounds of his favorite foods, reports USA Today.

Visitors can watch Bao Bao play with her favorite enrichment items during several demonstrations, and keepers will answer questions about the species.

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Despite our insane weather, it is better for Bao Bao to travel in the winter months when it's cool because giant pandas prefer cold weather, the zoo has said.

"China and the United States collaborate closely in scientific research about and conservation of giant pandas".

Starting Thursday, the zoo is saying farewell to Bao Bao with a series of goodbye events.

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.

The festivities culminate on Tuesday when Bao Bao departs Washington.



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