Bao Bao the panda is now in China after living more than three years at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. The panda arrived to China on Thursday morning after a 16 hour flight. Bao Bao, who is the first panda from the zoo to make the journey since 2010, arrived to the city of Chengdu on Thursday with her trainer and veterinarian. Bao Bao was taken to a nearby panda breeding center shortly after arriving to the city.
Bao Bao left the National Zoo on Tuesday but not before eating a breakfast and taking one last walk around the panda area of the zoo. The panda was taken to China on a FedEx plane. Pounds of bamboo and fruits were on the flight for Bao Bao the panda, who is part of an agreement between the zoo and China which asks them to be moved to the country at the age of four. Her trainer and veterinarian will be with her as she gets used to her new home.
Bao Bao has only been in China for a few hours but she will soon get used to her new home and will be visited by the public. She will go on display to the public once she completes this month of quarantine, according to an official in the breeding center.
The panda was born at the National Zoo to parents on loan from a Chinese conservation center. Her brother made the journey to China seven years ago while her younger brother, who was born in 2015, will move in a few years.
Bao Bao, one of the zoo’s most popular attractions, had one last ice cake the day before leaving to China. The zoo held events and activities for a week.
A census three years ago found that there were nearly 1,900 pandas alive in the wild. The numbers may not seem like much but it is actually a big improvement. Last year, pandas were taken off the endangered list after years of work by conservationists to save them. Pandas had been on the endangered list since the 1990s but now their status has been upgraded from endangered to vulnerable. Estimates say the panda population rose 17 percent from 2004 to 2014.
Bao Bao has started settling to her new home in China and she will later join a breeding program. Bao Bao was reportedly timid but curious after leaving the crate, where she was transported during the 16 hour flight.