Bei Bei the giant panda was born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C in 2015.
However, he’s heading back to China after an agreement with the zoo. It means that giant pandas go back to China after the giant panda turns 4.
Bei Bei was named by former First Lady Michelle Obama and China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan and was the first generation of pandas to live at the National Zoo.
“Bei Bei is part of our family,” Steve Monfort, a zoo director, told CNN. “Our team has cared for him, learned from him and, along with millions, loved watching him grow.”
“We’re sad he’s leaving, but excited for the contributions he will make to the global giant panda population. Bei Bei is an ambassador for conservation and part of a 47-year program that proves bringing species and habitats back from the brink is possible through global cooperation.”
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) 18 November 2019
If you’re worried about how he’s travelling, Bei Bei gets his own private jet for the journey from Washington to China.
It’s called the Panda Express and he has great snack options on board, including 66 pounds of bamboo, snacks and water. As giant pandas eat 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo each day, this should last Bei Bei a day and a half on his long journey.
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) 19 November 2019
Bei Bei is the third giant panda that was born at the zoo to move to China, following Tai Shan who moved in 2010 and Bao Bao who moved in 2017.
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) 17 November 2019
He has now arrived safely in China and is in safe hands at the Bifengxia Panda Base. The animal care team at the Smithsonian zoo will stay with him for a few days to make sure that Bei Bei adjusts well to his new home.
Bei Bei has arrived safely in China. Our animal care team will go with Bei Bei to his new home and stay with him for a few days at the Bifengxia Panda Base. Thanks to @FedEx and their crew! Thanks for the outpouring of support for Bei Bei ❤️and our panda team! #ByeByeBeiBei pic.twitter.com/rFf9aXZYQc
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) 20 November 2019
There are an estimated 1,800 giant pandas left in the wild and they are listed as “vulnerable” in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.