WASHINGTON - The National Zoo’s much-loved giant panda Bei Bei is leaving the District.
Bei Bei is slated to leave on Nov. 19 as part of a cooperative breeding agreement the zoo has with the China Wildlife Conservation Association.
All cubs born at the National Zoo move to China when they are 4 years old.
The zoo will host a special farewell event for Bei Bei from Nov. 11 through Nov. 18. According to zoo officials, details on the event will be shared in the future.
Bei Bei was born Aug. 22, 2015, at the Zoo’s David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat. He has been living separately from his mother Mei Xiang since March 2017.
Giant pandas are solitary in the wild, and cubs separate from their mothers to establish their own territories between 18 months and 2 years old.
Giant pandas are listed as “vulnerable” in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
There are an estimated 1,800 in the wild.
Scientists at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute work with scientists in China studying giant panda reproduction and cub health, habitat and disease.
Chinese scientists are working to reintroduce giant pandas to the wild.