Bye, bye, Bei Bei: Giant panda turns 4, prepares to leave National Zoo

August 15, 2019

Courtesy National Zoo

Bei Bei is about to turn four, and that means it’s almost time to say goodbye.

The giant panda will celebrate its birthday on Aug. 22 at D.C.’s National Zoo, the only home he’s known since he was born there in 2015 to Mei Xiang and Tian Tian by artificial insemination. But as every parent knows, one day their children will leave home and venture out into the world.

Bei Bei is set to move to China, according to a breeding agreement between the U.S. and China. The zoo is working with other federal agencies and their Chinese counterparts to research logistics and prepare Bei Bei for the big move. There is no exact date, but the National Zoo said in a release that it will happen in the coming months.

For now, the zoo has a birthday to plan.

The National Zoo said the birthday boy will celebrate with a panda-friendly frozen cake made specially for him by the zoo’s Department of Nutrition Science. Last year, his cake was made from bamboo, various juices, fruit and leaf-eater biscuits.

You can visit Bei Bei on his birthday at the National Zoo, which is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

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