Saturday, Jun 06, 2020 | Last Update : 02:37 PM IST

74th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra80229286942849 Tamil Nadu2869415762235 Delhi2633410315708 Gujarat19119130111190 Rajasthan100847359218 Uttar Pradesh97335648257 Madhya Pradesh89965878384 West Bengal73032912366 Karnataka4835169357 Bihar4598223329 Andhra Pradesh4250256573 Haryana3597120924 Telangana32901627113 Jammu and Kashmir3142104835 Odisha247814819 Punjab2415204347 Assam19894434 Kerala170071215 Uttarakhand115328610 Jharkhand7642975 Chhatisgarh6781892 Tripura6221730 Himachal Pradesh3691636 Chandigarh3022225 Goa126570 Manipur124110 Puducherry90330 Nagaland8000 Arunachal Pradesh3710 Meghalaya33131 Mizoram1710 Sikkim200

Bye Bye, Bei Bei: Last Panda cub in US leaves for China

PTI
Published : Nov 20, 2019, 11:09 am IST
Updated : Nov 20, 2019, 11:09 am IST

The four year-old cub, whose name means 'precious, treasure' in Mandarin, was destined to head to China under Beijing's 'panda diplomacy'.

Bei Bei will travel on a specially equipped direct flight from Washington to Chengdu inside a steel and plexiglass crate, accompanied by his keeper. (Skip Brown/Smithsonian's National Zoo)
 Bei Bei will travel on a specially equipped direct flight from Washington to Chengdu inside a steel and plexiglass crate, accompanied by his keeper. (Skip Brown/Smithsonian's National Zoo)

Washington: The US-born giant panda Bei Bei on Tuesday left the only home he has known at the National Zoo in Washington for a 16-hour flight back to China as part of its research and breeding program.

Bei Bei will travel on a specially equipped direct flight from Washington to Chengdu inside a steel and plexiglass crate, accompanied by his keeper and a veterinarian, zoo officials said. The four year-old cub, whose name means "precious, treasure" in Mandarin, was destined to head to China under Beijing's "panda diplomacy."

China lends pandas to zoos around the world, as the animals are considered "vulnerable" to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Once a young panda reaches the age of four, he or she is repatriated to breed with other animals at sanctuaries in China.

"Today is bittersweet," said zoo director Steve Monfort. "We've cared for Bei Bei, and along with millions, watched him grow into a true ambassador for his species," Monfort added.

"We look forward to continuing our 47-year giant panda conservation program and collaboration with Chinese colleagues to study, care for and help save the giant panda and its native habitat." FedEx is paying for the flight and the special outfitting of the Boeing 777 -- called the "Panda Express" for the occasion.

The National Zoo staff has prepared a special stash of treats for him: 66 pounds (30 kilos) of bamboo, two pounds of apples and pears, two pounds of cooked sweet potatoes, two bags of biscuits and water, officials said.

Bei Bei's siblings, brother Tai Shan and sister Bao Bao, have already been returned to China, while his father Tian Tian and mother Mei Xiang will remain at the National Zoo until at least December 2020. Bei Bei was born in August 2015, and his name was announced with great fanfare at an event with then-first lady Michelle Obama and her Chinese counterpart Peng Liyuan.​

Tags: us, china, panda, bei bei, national zoo
Location: United States, District of Columbia