Giant Panda Tai Shan Goes Back to China
Tai Shan, the giant panda who was the only baby panda to survive past infancy in Washington DC, has gone back to his ancestral home in China after four and a half years of being a celebrity in the United States.
He will become a regular panda just like the other 150 that currently reside at the Bifengxia Panda Base. He will stop delighting tourist and start preparing to breed.
Giant Pandas are sent to American zoos as part of a goodwill program called panda diplomacy. It was such a hit that countries began paying China to borrow them. However, any children born during the loan are automatic properties of China.
Tai Shan should have been returned at the age of two but was given several extensions. He left US Thursday, February 4 via a FedEx jet together with the female giant panda Mei Lan from Zoo Atlanta.
He was born July 9, 2005 at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park to parents Mai Xiang and Tian Tian who are on loan to the US for ten years from December 2000 at an amount of ten million dollars.