Bye bye, Bao Bao! Pandas leaving U.S.
Bye bye, Bao Bao! Pandas leaving U.S. In this Aug. 23, 2014 file photo, panda cub Bao Bao hangs from a tree in her habitat at the National Zoo in Washington in Washington. The National Zoo will be saying bye-bye to panda cub Bao Bao. The zoo said Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, that Bao Bao will move to China within the first few months of 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Bye bye, Bao Bao! Pandas leaving U.S.
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The panda population in the United States is dropping by three.
Atlanta's zoo has announced that its 3-year-old giant panda twins will leave the zoo Nov. 3. And the National Zoo in Washington said it will be saying bye-bye to panda cub Bao Bao in 2017. The zoo didn't give a date but said the cub will move to China within the first few months of the new year. Both zoos said it is better for pandas to travel in the winter months, when it is cool.
A total of four U.S. zoos have pandas that are on loan from China. As part of the loan agreement, pandas born in the United States return to China, generally around age 4. All three pandas leaving for China are females and expected to eventually become part of a breeding program there.
When they leave, a dozen pandas will remain in the United States: four in Atlanta, three in Washington, three in San Diego and two in Memphis.
Atlanta's departing panda twins, Mei Lun and Mei Huan, were born July 15, 2013, and were the first surviving panda twins born in the United States. The zoo's head veterinarian said that when the two were young, Mei Lun was a little bit of a complainer while Mei Huan was more "go with the flow," though those differences have smoothed out as they aged. They have since been joined by a second pair of twins born at Zoo Atlanta on Sept. 3.
In Washington, Bao Bao delighted the zoo and panda fans when she was born Aug. 23, 2013. Her mother, Mei Xiang, gave birth to her first cub, Tai Shan, in 2005, but failed to get pregnant for years. Then, a cub born in 2012 didn't survive. Mei Xiang has since had a third surviving cub, Bei Bei, who was born on Aug. 22, 2015. Older brother Tai Shan left the zoo for China in 2010.
Both zoos say they're preparing for the pandas' departure. In Washington, a travel crate will soon be placed in Bao Bao's habitat so she can get used to it. In Atlanta, a crate is already part of the pandas' enclosure.
Both zoos also have their packing lists. In Washington, it includes 55 pounds of bamboo, 2 pounds of apples and pears and 10 gallons of water. Zoo Atlanta's list is double that size and includes sugarcane and bananas.
National Zoo panda curator Michael Brown-Palsgrove had some words of comfort for fans sad to say "bon voyage" to Bao Bao, underscoring the "very important role" she will play by returning to China and becoming part of the breeding program there.
Zoo Atlanta's head veterinarian, Hayley Murphy, the vice president of Animal Divisions, acknowledged the pandas' departure is bittersweet.
"We've loved having two grow up together. It's been really fun to watch them play and entertain each other," she said.
Panda enthusiasts in Atlanta do have something to look forward to even as Mei Lun and Mei Huan depart. Their 6-week-old siblings are expected to make their public debut in December or January.

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Why does China keep such tight control on pandas?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • kaileew-ste
    10/27/2016 - 01:50 p.m.

    Three year old panda twins and a panda cub will be leaving the United States and moving to China. Pandas that are born in the United States usually end up going back to China at age four. I think this is good because it's wear they belong but at the same time it is sad because the pandas are so cute!

  • zakrym-ste
    10/28/2016 - 08:17 a.m.

    These cubs are born here in the U.S as a deal with China. They get moved back over to China in the winter months when they are to become apart of the breeding program over there. I think this is a very good way to keep the population going up.

  • elliem-lam
    10/28/2016 - 08:44 a.m.

    I do not think that the mom and the cub should be separated.

  • joshm-lam
    10/28/2016 - 01:29 p.m.

    Three year old panda cubs will be leaving the national zoo in Washington and going to China to be breeding animals. The pandas will be leaving in 2017 near the beginning of the year. Beacause it is better for them to travel in the cold.

  • kaylad1-lam
    10/28/2016 - 01:38 p.m.

    The 3 year old twin pandas are going back to China on November third after being born and raised in the US. In 2017 the panda named Bao Bao will also be going back to China. After the 3 pandas leave, there will be 12 left in the US.

  • nicholasp1-lam
    10/28/2016 - 02:26 p.m.

    I think China keeps a tight control of pandas because China is where the pandas habitat is. There it has bamboo which is one of the main resources that pandas eat.

  • jacobb3-lam
    10/28/2016 - 02:32 p.m.

    It is always sad to see a animal leave you, even if you have never seen said animal before. But it is always a good thing when you know that said animal is in a better place and is having a better life than at where it was. The "packing" list makes me feel good that these pandas are being well fed and practically in a 5-star hotel while they are being transferred back to China for breeding.

  • parkerz-cel
    10/31/2016 - 09:54 a.m.

    China keeps such tight control on pandas because pandas are known as specialist species. Pandas are so specialist to the point to where they don't seem interested in reproducing. Because they are decreasing in number so fast they are starting to become endangered and possibly even extinct soon. So china is taking such tight control over the pandas so that they can possibly put them in their natural habitat instead of in a zoo and possibly get them to reproduce.

  • emmab-cel
    10/31/2016 - 09:57 a.m.

    These Pandas have had an awesome time here, and we have loved having them. Its sad they are leaving but they will be in good hands and they will love their new home in China. Hopefully we will get some more pandas back over here from china.

  • jareds-cel
    10/31/2016 - 10:00 a.m.

    The reason why China keeps such tight control on pandas is because they are endangered. They don't want the beloved panda going extinct because it's been apart of their culture for so long. Also them going extinct could in fact damage the environment by disrupting things like the food chain. It could lead to the decrease in other animals.

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