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Panda fans say bye as U.S.-born cub leaves for China

Associated Press

Washington — The National Zoo in Washington has said its final goodbye to its panda cub Bao Bao.

The zoo packed up the American-born panda Tuesday for a one-way flight to China, where the 3-year-old will eventually join a panda breeding program.

Bao Bao left the zoo Tuesday morning in a special crate. She is scheduled to fly from Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia to Chengdu, China, on Tuesday afternoon.

The cub won’t have to worry about finding overhead bin space or dealing with a talkative seatmate on the 16-hour, nonstop flight. She’ll be the only panda on the plane, traveling with a keeper and a veterinarian.

In preparation for the trip, keepers have packed Bao Bao’s favorite foods, including bamboo, apples and sweet potatoes.