THE PANDA HAS LANDED! DC's panda Bao Bao arrives in China
WASHINGTON - The panda has landed!
Bao Bao - the beloved panda who spent her first 3 year at D.C.’s National Zoo - has arrived in China and is enroute to her new home.
WATCH LIVE: China Xinhua News coverage of Bao Bao's arrival
The cub departed Tuesday on a 16-hour, nonstop flight from Dulles International Airport to Chengdu, China.
Bao Bao will eventually join a panda breeding program. As part of the National Zoo’s cooperative breeding agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, all cubs born at the zoo move must move back to China by the time they turn 4 years old. Bao Bao will turn 4 on Aug. 23, 2017.
On Monday, zoo staff prepared for the trip and celebrated Bao Bao with a frozen ice cake. She spent her last hours at the National Zoo playing, eating and relaxing.
The panda is the first surviving cub born at the National Zoo since 2005. Her older brother Tai Shan left the National Zoo for China back in 2010. Their youngest sibling, Bei Bei, was born last year in August.
Bao Bao traveled with a keeper and a veterinarian during the flight to China. Keepers packed her favorite foods, including bamboo, apples and sweet potatoes.