Giant panda Bao Bao will depart the Smithsonian’s National Zoo for China Feb. 21. FedEx, the Zoo’s official transport sponsor, will fly Bao Bao from Washington, D.C., to Chengdu, China. One keeper and one veterinarian will fly with Bao Bao to China. The panda team will continuously monitor Bao Bao during the trip and will travel with a supply of her favorite treats, including bamboo, apples, pears, cooked sweet potatoes and water. (Note: Media interested in interviewing the Zoo’s panda team about Bao Bao’s upcoming departure may do so Feb. 15 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.)
The Zoo will have special opportunities for the public to say goodbye and celebrate Bao Bao Feb. 16 to Feb. 20. A full schedule of events at the Zoo and on its social media channels is available online. Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) will host a special event for its members Feb. 11.
Bao Bao was born at 5:32 p.m. Aug. 23, 2013, at the Zoo’s David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat. She has been living separately from her mother Mei Xiang since March 2015. Giant pandas are solitary in the wild, and cubs separate from their mothers to establish their own territories between 18 months and 2 years old. Bao Bao will enter the breeding program in China between the ages of 5 and 6 years old.
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