Giant panda BAO BAO leaves US to live in China

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Bao Bao
Bao Bao, the beloved 3-year-old panda at the National Zoo in Washington, enjoys a final morning in her bamboo-filled habitat before her one-way flight to China to join a panda breeding program, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

After over three years, panda BAO BAO has departed her home at Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo and moving to China. Fans and dignitaries are in abundance as the bear makes her grand farewell.

CGTN’s Han Peng reports on the panda’s last day in the U.S.

Bao Bao began her last day in the U.S. like every other, playing and eating.  After three and a half years, the American-born panda, a famous attraction at Washington’s National Zoo, was packing up, and moving out.

“Today, we are sending Bao Bao to China. So it is emotional for us. We’re certainly going to be sad, we’re going to miss her. But the positive thing about it is it’s a very exciting time in her life.” Laurie Thompson with the Smithsonian National Zoo said.

Bao Bao is going to China to be a part of the breeding program there. All pandas born outside of China must return by the time they turn four.

China’s Ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, was presented with letters written by Americans that will stay with Bao Bao in her new home.

“I think she’ll adapt really well. She’s a very independent little bear. The only transition she’ll really have is that she’ll have new keepers. Once she gets to know them and they feed her, she’ll be really happy,” Thompson said.

Bao Bao is traveling with more than 30 kilos (66 pounds) of food on her direct flight to Chengdu, aboard a custom-fitted FedEx plane, dubbed the Panda Express.

Video of BAO BAO’S departure from Dulles Airport

Friend’s at National Zoo say goodbye to BAO BAO

A preview from the airport of BAO BAO’s departure

Who is BAO BAO? Why is she leaving?

Panda BAO BAO paints!

Interview with Brandie Smith on Bao Bao’s departure

Suzanne Braden talks about Bao Bao’s departure to China

Panda Bao Bao is leaving the U.S. for new home in China. To discuss Bao Bao’s departure to China, CGTN’s Mike Walte spoke to Suzanne Braden, birector at Pandas International.