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American Panda Cub Bao Bao Arrives in China

Bao Bao, an American-born panda cub, arrived in China on Wednesday evening after leaving the National Zoo in Washington.


The 3-year-old panda landed in Chengdu in southwest China after a 16-hour flight that was described by pilots and a keeper as having gone smoothly.


Bao Bao left the zoo in a special crate and began her journey from Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia with a keeper and a veterinarian. In preparation for the trip, keepers packed Bao Bao’s favorite foods, including bamboo, apples and sweet potatoes.


The panda’s keeper, Marty Dearie, said in an interview with China’s official Xinhua News Agency at the airport in Chengdu that the flight went well.


“She ate and slept the whole flight and we have no concerns, none at all,” he said.


Bao Bao, whose name means “precious” or “treasure,” will first go through a month-long quarantine at the Dujiangyan base of the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas in Chengdu, Xinhua reported.


A 100-square meter (1,100-square foot) enclosure has been prepared for the panda cub at the base. The enclosure includes a lounge and a playground, the report said.


Keepers will work on helping Bao Bao adapt to local bamboo and Chinese bread, Xinhua said.


Bao Bao will eventually join a panda breeding program.