US-born panda cub Bao Bao has arrived in China after leaving the National Zoo in Washington DC.
The three-year-old panda landed in Chengdu in central China last night following a 16-hour flight.
Bao Bao left the zoo in a special crate and began her journey from Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia with a keeper and a veterinarian for company. Keepers packed Bao Bao’s favourite foods for the trip, including bamboo, apples and sweet potatoes.
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The panda’s keeper, Marty Dearie, acknowledged at the airport in Chengdu that the flight went well.
“She ate and slept the whole flight and we have no concerns, none at all,” he said.
Bao Bao – whose name translates as “precious” or “treasure” – will first go through a month-long quarantine at the Dujiangyan base of the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas in Chengdu.
A 1100-square foot enclosure has been prepared for the cub at the base, where Bao Bao will eventually join a breeding programme. The enclosure includes a lounge and a playground.