Say bye bye to Bao Bao. The giant panda leaves for China.
Bao Bao the giant panda is leaving The Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo, her home for the past 3 years, and will head to her new residence in China. Just how exactly is Bao Bao getting to her new abode? FexEx Panda Express of course!
Bao Bao, 3, will be traveling to Chengdu, China today via FedEx. Her travel companions will be one keeper and one veterinarian. They will help to monitor her and make certain she snacks on her favorite treats: 55 pounds of bamboo, 2 pounds of apples, two bags of leaf eater biscuits, cooked sweet potatoes and water!
Why is Bao Bao making this trip to her new home? Conservationists are hoping she will one day find a mate and have a cub of her own. As she was leaving today, scores of reporters, photographers and camera crews were there to give her a send-off worthy of a celebrity!
They noted that her traveling crate is made of steel and weighs 800 pounds! It was placed into the belly of the plane that incidentally, was decorated with a panda decal! And the forklift used to lift her crate was decorated with panda ears! And also worthy of the National Zoo’s favorite marsupial, she was escorted by police as her truck entered the airport. Her truck was also decorated with a panda decal! Attending her sendoff was the president of FedEx and a Chinese government official. And China’s ambassador to the US had joined a ceremony at the zoo earlier to commemorate this occasion.
Zoo Director Dennis Kelly said, “Today marks another milestone in our race to save giant pandas from extinction. Every birth is so important.” He also went on to consider Bao Bao a symbol of the great efforts taken to conserve this species. He said he hopes Bao Bao will find a mate and her offspring might one day be returned to the wild.
Bao Bao’s flight will take 16 hours and during this time she will fly 8,508 miles to her final destination of Chengdu, China. After, she will spend 30 days in quarantine. What a long distance to travel for a giant panda! As there are only 1800 giant pandas left in the wild, Bao Bao is a goodwill ambassador to both China and the US. Bon Voyage Bao Bao!
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