Friends of the National Zoo say goodbye to Bao Bao

Pandas at the National Zoo are moved to China by the time they are four years old. Bao Bao will be turning four in August. (WTOP / Kathy Stewart)
Bao Bao will move to China on Feb. 21. Friends of the National Zoo surprised Bao Bao with a going away party. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP / Kathy Stewart)
Friends of the National Zoo surprised Bao Bao with a going away party. Bao Bao will move to China on Feb. 21.  WTOP / Kathy Stewart
Pandas at the National Zoo are moved to China by the time they are 4 years old. Bao Bao will turn 4 in August, but because Giant Pandas are cold weather animals, a winter flight to China is better suited. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP / Kathy Stewart )
Fans of Bao Bao had the opportunity to take pictures of the beloved Panda before his big move to China. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Friends of the National Zoo members had the opportunity to take pictures of the 3-year-old panda at a private going away party for Bao Bao. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) ((WTOP/Kathy Stewart))
(WTOP / Kathy Stewart)
Melissa Davis from Leesburg brought her 18-mobnth-old daughter Katie Davis to say goodbye to Bao Bao. “It’s the first time she ever said Panda,” said Davis.. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) ((WTOP / Kathy Stewart))
(WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
A toddler at the National Zoo on Saturday morning wore a panda hat to say goodbye to Bao Bao. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) ((WTOP/Kathy Stewart))
(WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
The National Zoo will host a variety of celebratory events for Bao Bao from Feb. 16 to Feb. 20. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) ((WTOP/Kathy Stewart))
Katie Davis, 1,  says “panda” as she watches Bao Bao at the National Zoo. Her mom Melissa Davis is a panda lover and Katie is a panda lover and training. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) ((WTOP/Kathy Stewart))
The National Zoo held a private going away party for Bao Bao, who’s moving to China on Feb. 21. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) ((WTOP/Kathy Stewart))
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Pandas at the National Zoo are moved to China by the time they are four years old. Bao Bao will be turning four in August. (WTOP / Kathy Stewart)
Friends of the National Zoo surprised Bao Bao with a going away party. Bao Bao will move to China on Feb. 21.  WTOP / Kathy Stewart
Fans of Bao Bao had the opportunity to take pictures of the beloved Panda before his big move to China. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
(WTOP / Kathy Stewart)
(WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
(WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
A going away party at the zoo for Bao Bao (Jennifer Ortiz)

WASHINGTON– Friends of the National Zoo held a private going away party for Bao Bao on Saturday morning as the beloved panda’s big move to China quickly approaches.

Under a breeding agreement with China, pandas at the National Zoo are moved to China by the time they are 4 years old in order to keep the population genetically diverse, according to the National Zoo website.

Bao Bao will turn 4 in August, but because Giant Pandas are cold weather animals a winter flight to China would be much cooler for Bao Bao, according to a zookeeper. Bao Bao will be moving to China on Feb. 21.

Karen Myers has been following Bao Bao ever since the cub’s mother (Mei Xiang) went into labor with her.

“Sadly we have to say goodbye,” Myers said. “Honestly, Bao Bao is going to go to China, and she’ll be a good ambassador. I think she’ll have some really pretty cubs.”

Melissa Davis from Leesburg, Virginia, brought her 18-month-old daughter Katie Davis to say goodbye to Bao Bao. “It’s the first time she ever said Panda,” said Davis.


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