Bao Bao the panda has left the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C., and heading back to China.
The panda, who was born in 2013 inside the zoo, has delighted Americans with her playful antics.
Thousands showed up to bid her farewell in the last few days, and Bao Bao was even gifted a special goodbye cake made out of ice to nosh on.
"We’ve watched Bao Bao grow up during the past three years, and she has charmed people all over the world with her independent and playful personality," Dennis Kelly, the director of the Zoo, said in a statement posted to the National Zoo website. "We’re so proud of our team who have prepared Bao Bao for the next chapter of her life as she enters the breeding program in China. This is another milestone in our 45-year history of working to study, care for and help save the giant panda and its native habitat.”
The flight, dubbed the “FedEx Panda Express,” left Dulles International Airport in Virginia for China on Tuesday morning.
For the 16-hour flight, Bao Bao was given 55 pounds of bamboo, two pounds of apples, two bags of leafeater biscuits, cooked sweet potatoes and water.
The zoo’s Instagram page has been loaded with images of Bao Bao through the years.
They also posted a goodbye video and thank you to those who came to see her during her final days in Washington.
🐼🎂🌏❤️Bao Bao's farewell ice cake was created by the Zoo's Department of Nutrition Sciences. The cake was inspired by a Chinese pagoda in honor of her new home. Ingredients include apple juice, applesauce, leaf eater biscuits, leaf eater biscuit powder, dried bamboo leaves, apple, pear, water, bamboo spine and food coloring. #ByeByeBaoBao @fonznationalzoo
🐼Bao Bao began her journey to China this morning. She departed the Smithsonian’s National Zoo for Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia where she will board a FedEx 777F plane bound for China. Tune into the Zoo's Facebook page for a LIVE broadcast of the departure at 1:30pm EST. (Yes, those are 🐼 ears on the forklift) #ByeByeBaoBao @fonznationalzoo @fedex