The giant panda born in US named Bei Bei on Tuesday, left his home at the National Zoo in Washington.
Bei Bei flight back to China for its research and breeding program.
The panda will travel on a specially equipped direct flight from Washington to Chengdu, China. A steel and plexiglass crate inside the plane and Bei Bei accompanied by his keeper and a veterinarian, according to zoo officials.
Zoo staff prepared treats for Bei Bei, 66 pounds of bamboo, two pounds of apple and pears, two pounds of cooked sweet potatoes, two bags of biscuits and water.
The name of the 4-year old cub, means “precious treasure” in Mandarin and the cub was meant to head under Beijing’s “panda diplomacy” in China.
Zoo director Steve Monfort said that they’ve cared for Bei Bei and along with millions, watched him grow into a true ambassador for his species.
“Today is bittersweet,” Monfort said.
The zoo officials look forward to continuing the 47-year giant panda conservation program and collaboration with Chinese colleagues to study, care for and help save the giant panda and its native habitat.
Bei Bei was announced at an event with first lady Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan. The panda was born in August 2015.(Cate Pallarco/IAMIGO/CNS)