Media Advisory: Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Giant Panda Bei Bei Departs for China


Giant panda Bei Bei (BAY-BAY) will leave the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and travel aboard the FedEx Panda Express for his new home in China. There will be two media opportunities:

  1. Zoo: Media will be able to see a special forklift move Bei Bei’s transport crate down Asia Trail and across Olmstead Walk to the FedEx truck that will take Bei Bei to Dulles International Airport. Bei Bei will not be visible in his transport crate.
  2. Dulles International Airport: Bei Bei’s crate will be moved onto the “FedEx Panda Express,” a custom-decaled 777F aircraft. The panda, animal care experts and flight crew will then take-off and fly non-stop to Chengdu, China.


Tuesday, Nov. 19

  1. Zoo:
    6:00 a.m.: Media have access to enter the Zoo; park in Lot B
    7 to 8 a.m.: Bei Bei will be in his outdoor habitat for the last time
    8:30 a.m.: Panda keepers bring bamboo and supplies for flight to FedEx truck
    8:45 a.m.: Crate with Bei Bei will travel on Olmsted Walk in front of media to be loaded on the FedEx truck
  2. FedEx Express ramp at Dulles Airport: 10 a.m.

Note: Exact flight time is still TBD, which will directly impact event timing at both locations. The Zoo’s Office of Communications will update all media that RSVP via the process outlined below with the exact times of each media opportunity as soon as possible. Travel time between the Zoo and Dulles International Airport will be accounted for to allow media to attend both events.  


Parking Lot B (Note: Bus Lot will be closed to media)
 Smithsonian’s National Zoo
3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

FedEx Express Ramp at Dulles International Airport:
23723 Air Freight Ln.
Suite 100
Dulles, Virginia
Register via instructions below to receive guidance on arrival, parking and security.


Giant panda Bei Bei
Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
Brandie Smith, deputy director, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Panda keepers                                               

FedEx: Dulles Airport
Richard Smith, FedEx Express regional president & executive vice president global support
Captain John Hunt, FedEx Panda Express pilot
Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute


ZOO DEPARTURE: Register by providing your name and outlet; call (202) 633-3055. You must be on the media RSVP list to enter the Zoo.

Space is limited for trucks and crews. The Zoo will provide detailed live truck and media arrival times and security instructions as soon as the flight departure information is confirmed. Procedures for Bei Bei in the panda exhibit will begin early, and, for safety reasons, media must be in place before Zoo staff begin to move him out of the giant panda habitat.

FEDEX EXPRESS DULLES AIRPORT DEPARTURE: Media must contact Rae Lyn Rushing, communications advisor, FedEx, to register for the media event at Dulles International Airport. To RSVP, email or call (901) 434-5791.

CREDENTIALS: Bring media identification and government-issued identification, such as a U.S. driver’s license. No media will be admitted to the Zoo or Dulles International Airport without preregistering and the proper credentials. IDs will be checked at the Zoo’s Connecticut Avenue entrance and at Dulles International Airport.


Zoo: All media should park in Parking Lot B (not the Bus Lot, which will be closed to media).  

Dulles International Airport: FedEx will provide parking details upon registration as noted above.


At the Zoo: Media interested in live shots should preregister and confirm with Devin Murphy at or (202) 633-3083. Space is limited for trucks and crews, and we are unsure of how many we can accommodate at this time. Live trucks must remain in place until Bei Bei has left for Dulles International Airport.

At FedEx Express Ramp at Dulles International Airport: Media interested in live shots should confirm with Rae Lyn Rushing at Space is limited for trucks.

# # #

Image Gallery