Bei Bei the panda is headed back to China Tuesday, after a stint at at U.S. zoo.
According to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., Bei Bei is the third giant panda born at the zoo to move to China.
The panda is part of a cooperative breeding program with the China Wildlife Conservation Association. As part of the program, all giant panda cubs born at the zoo move to China when they turn four years old.
Bei Bei was born in November 2015, and his name means “precious treasure” in Mandarin Chinese. He was named by then-First Lady Michelle Obama and First Lady of the People’s Republic of China, Peng Liyuan.
Through the years, the zoo has kept the public updated on Bei Bei’s adventures, from discovering snow to falling out of trees, and is re-sharing them on Twitter with the the hashtag #ByeByeBeiBei.
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) November 16, 2019
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) November 14, 2019
Giant pandas were upgraded from “endangered” to “vulnerable” species status in 2016, and the zoo said Bei Bei is the first generation of pandas to live at the zoo as an ambassador for an increasing wild population.
Anyone who wants can track Bei Bei’s flight on the “FedEx Panda Express”: https://flightaware.com/live/flight/FDX9759.