On the morning of February 21, Amb. Cui Tiankai went to the National Zoo to bid farewell to the giant panda Bao Bao, who departed for China later that day.
Amb. Cui, together with Director Dennis Kelly of the National Zoo, watched Bao Bao entering a specially-made travel crate with plenty of ventilation holes on it. Then the crate was loaded onto a FedEx truck printed with an image of Bao Bao munching bamboo, which was bound for the airport later. Director Kelly also presented to Amb. Cui a box full of letters of best wishes for Bao Bao from the American people. The letter box will be delivered to China with Bao Bao.
Amb. Cui Tiankai expressed heart-felt appreciation for the scientists and staff members from the National Zoo and other institutions who had made great efforts in panda conservation and breeding. He said, Bao Bao is a good example of China-U.S. cooperation on panda conservation. It has been adored by people from both countries and has been a bond of good feelings between the two peoples. The great teamwork between Chinese and U.S. scientists in panda conservation is one of the examples of our successful bilateral cooperation in a variety of fields. We look forward to further cooperation with the American side in the future.
Bao Bao was born in the National Zoo on August 23, 2013. Its parents are Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, who arrived in the U.S. in 2000. According to the agreement between the National Zoo and Chinese relevant departments, Bao Bao should return to China for the panda breeding program before it is 4 years old. The preparing for Bao Bao's leaving started several months ago and the National Zoo has hosted a series of events in honor of its departure over the past week. Over 60,000 people visited Bao Bao to say goodbye last weekend. In accordance with the Chinese tradition, the Chinese Embassy sent six hundred dumplings to the National Zoo, which were very popular among the visitors. Minister Zhu Hong, on behalf of Amb. Cui Tiankai, saw Bao Bao off at the airport.
|Image: Gao Shi, People's Daily|