Bye Bye, Bao Bao: Beloved Panda Cub Travels Back to China

Headlines     Bye Bye Bao Bao Beloved Panda Cub Travels Back to China                         by Inside Edition                  5:06 PM EST

The National Zoo in Washington has said its final goodbye to its panda cub Bao Bao. The panda has been quite popular since her birth at the zoo back in August 2013, with former First Lady Michelle Obama even recording a message of congratulations following Bao Bao's official naming.

The cub won't have to worry about finding overhead bin space or dealing with a talkative seatmate on the 16-hour, nonstop flight Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday.

The plane will land in Chengdu, and Bao Bao will be taken to Dujiangyan Panda Base, where she will live for 30 days to make sure she has no diseases, the report adds. Since she loves bamboo, they are going to take 50 pounds of it along with sweet potatoes and apples.

Bao Bao will eventually join a panda breeding program in china.

Since then, Bao Bao, whose name means "precious treasure" in Chinese, has grown from about the size of a stick of butter to more than 200 pounds.

The last and only time a D.C. -born panda cub survived for more than a few days was in 2005, when male panda Tai Shan entered the world.

Bao Bao, whose personality is described as "very independent", like a domestic cat, will travel aboard a specially chartered FedEx plane - the "Panda Express"- in a large box marked "one panda". The pair's first cub, Tai Shan, returned to China in 2010. Bao Bao is one of two pandas born at the zoo moved to China as part of an agreement. Their youngest sibling, Bei Bei, was born a year ago in August.

The pandas are on loan at the Smithsonian Zoo until the age of four.

There are three pandas at the San Diego Zoo.