These things … only in AMERICA!!!
It was a matter of national security and international diplomacy.
February 21st, 2017. Today no war zones, no Trumps, no beauty parlours, no shopping because it’s a big day for Bao Bao and millions of her fans all over the world. One of Washington's most popular residents is ...
Bao Bao, the most famous giant panda nowadays, was born on August 23, 2013, at the National Zoo in Washington D.C.
Giant pandas are ...
... an endangered species, and are protected in part by conservation efforts at reservations and in zoos such as the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. Bao Bao is one of only several hundred giant pandas alive today in captivity, among fewer than 2,000 giant pandas in the world, and one the first surviving panda cub born at the National Zoo since Tai Shan in 2005.
Bao Bao was named 100 days after her birth, as a result of an online vote. Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, and Peng Liyuan, First Lady of China, each sent special video messages that were played during the naming ceremony. Bao Bao's birth, naming ceremony, and current travel to China issue are part of China's panda diplomacy.
Bao Bao, who currently weighs around 200lbs (90kg), has been a central attraction at the national zoo. Thousands of people were not only visiting the zoo but also watching the pandas live on Giant Panda Cam. The phenomenon has even been recently mentioned in one of the most popular American TV political drama, Madam Secretary. Enjoy watching this hilarious high level political chat between the Secretary of State, her three staff members and the POTUS’ Chief of Staff:
Gifts of giant pandas to American and Japanese zoos formed an important part of the diplomacy of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the 1970s, as it marked some of the first cultural exchanges between the PRC and the West. This practice has been termed "panda diplomacy".
By 1984, however, pandas were no longer given as gifts. Instead, the PRC began to offer pandas to other nations only on 10-year loans, under terms including a fee of up to US$1,000,000 per year and a provision that any cubs born during the loan are the property of the PRC. Since 1998, because of a WWF lawsuit, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service allows a US zoo to import a panda only if the zoo can ensure the PRC will channel more than half of its loan fee into conservation efforts for the giant panda and its habitat. According to the conditions of ‘’panda diplomacy’’, they have to be returned to China before their 4th birtdy and there they will participate in the species breeding program.
The zoo made the 800-pound crate part of her daily routine starting a month ago. It was added to her habitat and she voluntarily walked into it on the first day. To help build positive associations with the space, she was fed honey, water and biscuits in the crate.
Bao Bao isn't drugged before the flight. Smith said the zoo wouldn't want an animal to suddenly wake up disoriented and confused on a flight.
She'll be traveling with FedEx (FDX), which is making its sixth panda flight.The plane, decorated with a huge panda logo near the nose, is specially designed to carry animals, be it cattle, pandas, horses or sea lions. The team flying Bao Bao to China is familiar with exotic animal travel. It once spent a year preparing to transport 450 horses from Europe for an equestrian event in Kentucky.The temperature is kept at a level Bao Bao will be comfortable with.
Two trucks, one carrying the panda, the other carrying the road food were escorted by National Zoo police and then by airport police along the way.
In China, she will go into quarantine at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Dujiangyan, Sichuan province.
Over the last weekend, about 60,000 people visited the zoo. Some came from as far away as Scotland just to say their goodbyes and offer well wishes to Bao Bao. There were traffic jams throughout the Woodley Park neighborhood as visitors tried to get a last look at the panda.