Bao Bao Says Bye Bye

AT THE NATIONAL ZOO, ALL EYES ON BAO BAO. THE STAR GIANT PANDA HEADS BACK TO CHINA THIS WEEK.

Marty Dearie, Giant Panda Keeper: You're so good! Yea!

WITH HER FINAL CHECK UP COMPLETE, IT'S TIME TO SAY "BYE BYE!" TO BAO BAO, AS THE THREE-YEAR-OLD PANDA LEAVES HER HOME IN WASHINGTON.

Marty Dearie, Giant Panda Keeper: We've been planning for this from the moment she was born.

BAO BAO, WHOSE NAME MEANS PRECIOUS OR TREASURE, WILL ENTER A BREEDING PROGRAM, PART OF A LONG STANDING AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA

Marty Dearie, Giant Panda Keeper: It's a really good thing for us and for our colleagues in China.

EQUIPPED WITH MORE THAN 50 POUNDS OF her FAVORITE TREATS, MARTY DEARIE AND A VETERINARIAN WILL TRAVEL to china WITH BAO BAO.

Marty Dearie, Giant Panda Keeper: We've been training Bao from the moment she was up and moving.

SPENDING WEEKS GETTING HER USED TO THIS CRATE, WHICH WILL CARRY HER THE ROUGHLY SIXTEEN HOURS TO HER NEW HOME.

Marty Dearie, Giant Panda Keeper: We don't want to just shut her in the crate and now she's in a space she doesn't know.

BUT FOR THOSE WHO HELPED RAISE BAO BAO WITH THEIR BARE HANDS, IT'S NOT SUCH A BLACK AND WHITE MATTER.

Marty Dearie, Giant Panda Keeper: I've been with her literally since the day she was born. Brandie Smith, Giant Panda Keeper: She's my girl and I will miss her.

BORN IN AUGUST OF 2013, BAO BAO WAS THE FIRST SURVIVING CUB OF HER PARENTS IN NEARLY A DECADE, DRAWING MORE THAN 5,000 VISITORS TO THE ZOO ON THE DAY OF HER DEBUT AND MILLIONS SINCE -- QUICKLY WINNING OVER HEARTS WITH HER PLAYFUL ATTITUDE.

Marty Dearie, Giant Panda Keeper: The first time she ever got to be in a big snow storm, she slid down a big hill or rolled down with a log and tumbled down and I was laughing so hard it kind of hurt.

GIANT PANDAS LIKE BAO BAO ARE NATIVE TO CHINA – AND GREAT NEWS: THIS SPECIES WAS RECENTLY REMOVED FROM THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST. THE GIANT PANDA POPULATION HAS SHOT UP 17% OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS!

THIS IS THANKS, IN PART, TO THE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH OF THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA. THIS COLLABORATION, ALONG WITH THE PANDA-LENDING PROGRAM, BEGAN IN 1972 WHEN CHINA GIFTED THE US TWO PANDAS.

UNDER THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE US AND CHINA, THE OFFSPRING OF THE GIFTED PANDAS BELONG TO CHINA AND MUST BE RETURNED BY AGE 4.

THIS AGREEMENT IS A KEY PART OF US-CHINA DIPLOMACY. DIPLOMACY IS THE MANAGING OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS.

BAO BAO RODE FIRST CLASS BACK TO CHINA IN THE FEDEX PANDA EXPRESS ON FEBRUARY 21ST.


Instructional Links


Video: Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Bao Bao: All the Feels Video

Website Article: Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Bao Bao's Departure FAQs

Website Article: San Diego Zoo Kids, Giant Panda | Info & live webcam.

Website Article: BBC, China's Panda Ambassadors | History of panda diplomacy.

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