BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The National Zoo said Wednesday, Bao Bao, the zoo’s giant female panda, is preparing for her departure to China.
Bao Bao was born at the zoo on Aug. 23, 2014, and the first cub to survive birth since 2005 at the time.
“As part of the Zoo’s cooperative long-term breeding agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, all cubs born at the Zoo move to China by the time they turn 4 years old,” the zoo said in a statement.
China owns all giant pandas in U.S. zoos and requires that cubs born here be sent “home” about the time they reach breeding age.
Bao Bao has been living apart from her mother, Mei Xiang, since March 2015. Giant pandas are solitary in the wild, and cubs separate from their mothers to establish their own territories between 18 months and 2 years old, the statement said.
Bao Bao’s trip to China will come seven years after the zoo’s giant panda Tai Shan made the trip in February, 2010.
Tai Shan was born at the zoo July 9, 2005, and was the only giant panda born there to survive beyond infancy at the time.