Masked fans welcome US-born panda Bao Bao on arrival in China

Bao Bao panda leaves Washington for China

Born on August 23, 2013, Bao Bao shot to global stardom as the "panda cam" at the National Zoo documented her birth and childhood for millions of fans worldwide.

Bao Bao, the giant panda that was born at the National Zoo and left Tuesday for its new home in China has landed there, according to the official Chinese news agency.

Following a 16-hour flight in a FedEx crate, she received a warm welcome late on Wednesday from fans wearing panda masks at the Dujiangyan Base of China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP).

Born and raised in the United States, Bao Bao, a 3-year-old giant panda, fails to become a US citizen and has arrived in China on Wednesday. Bao Bao will enter the giant panda breeding program when she is about 5 or 6 years old.

Two zoo personnel will travel with the panda - along with about 30 kilos (65 pounds) of food - mainly bamboo, but also apples, cooked sweet potatoes and special biscuits. She will be greeted by her new keepers upon arrival in Chengdu. That pair, female Ling-Ling and male Hsing-Hsing, lived at the zoo for more than 20 years, but produced no surviving cubs.

China has panda collaborations with 17 zoos in 12 countries. Instead, the "on-loan" policy started.

Bao Bao drew an global audience as the star of the zoo "panda cam", which documented her birth and childhood for millions of fans worldwide. Her departure was shown on Facebook Live on Monday.

Bao Bao was born and raised in the United States. Under an agreement between China and the USA, such panda cubs must be returned to China before they are 4 years old, the earliest age at which they might begin breeding.

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