All three Giant Pandas are leaving the Smithsonian's National Zoo for China in November. What's up with that?! We sat down with the director of the Zoo, Brandie Smith, to find out why the pandas are leaving, and whether China plans to send more. This might truly be the end of a beara ... we mean era!
- Brandie Smith, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
- Stephen Powers, panda fan
- Watch video of the pandas leaving the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and get the details about their travel itinerary.
- A few fun facts about this giant journey:
- On November 8, giant pandas Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and Xiao Qi Ji departed the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington D.C. and began their journey to China.
- The NZCBI team joined Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and Xiao Qi Ji for the trip and remained with the pandas for a few days while they acclimated to their new home.
- Before the journey, keepers spent several weeks helping the giant pandas acclimate to their specialized travel crates, which are made of steel and plexiglass and weigh approximately 800 pounds each.
- The in-flight menu included approximately 220 pounds of bamboo, 8 pounds of leaf-eater biscuits, 5 pounds of low-starch biscuits, 6 pounds of apples, 5 pounds of carrots, 6 pounds of sweet potatoes, 3 pounds of sugar cane, 1 pound of pears and 1 pound of cooked squash.
- Mei Xiang and Tian Tian’s other surviving cubs, Tai Shan, Bao Bao, and Bei Bei are already thriving in China: Tai Shan and Bao Bao have even welcomed cubs of their own!
- If you haven’t already, check out our Sidedoor episode The Sex Lives of Giant Pandas from season eight to find out why making baby pandas is harder than it may seem—and to learn how the once-endangered giant panda is making a comeback with a little help from science.
- Get your cute panda fix with a video collection of panda cam greatest hits from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.
- You can also explore the National Zoo’s other animal cams, including elephants, lions, a litter of cheetah cubs, and a colony of naked mole-rats!