On February 4, Tai Shan traveled to China aboard a FedEx 777F—known as the “FedEx Panda Express”—accompanied by a National Zoo veterinarian and keeper. The plane departed Washington Dulles International Airport at 11:50 a.m. and flew directly to Chengdu, landing there in the afternoon of February. The Zoo staff traveling with him stayed in China for a week as he transitioned to life in his new home at Bifengxia Panda Base in Ya’an, Sichuan.
Tai Shan wasn't the only giant panda on this special plane, decorated with an enormous giant panda photo. Mei Lan, a three-year-old giant panda from Zoo Atlanta, was also on board.