One of the nation’s beloved giant pandas packed her bags and moved to China on Tuesday.
Bao Bao, a female giant panda, was born and spent the first two years of her life at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
Bao Bao has thrilled the American people since her birth, which was captured live on the Smithsonian National Zoo’s high-definition cameras in 2013. In the following days, audiences cheered on the healthy cub as it grew.
The last and only time a D.C.-born panda cub survived for more than a few days was in 2005, when male panda Tai Shan entered the world. He was relocated to China five years later.
China owns all giant pandas in the United States, part of a diplomatic gesture that, by some estimates, dates back to the 7th century.
The pandas are on loan at the Smithsonian Zoo until the age of four. They are then relocated to China where they are placed into breeding programs as they reach sexual maturity.
The giant panda population has grown, prompting an upgrade in its status from endangered to vulnerable last year, as The New York Times pointed out.
Now, as we say “Bye, bye, Bao Bao,” here’s a look at some of her best moments in America:
The 2013 government shutdown’s effect reached Bao Bao, whose camera was shut down. Here we saw her again for the first time in weeks.
Bao Bao takes a nibble at her toes. Bao Bao shows off her flexibility in this clip.
In 2014, Bao Bao goes outside for the first time.
Bao Bao celebrates her first birthday with a Zhuazhou ceremony, when young ones are presented with gifts believed to foreshadow their future. Bao Bao received an ice cake.
Bao Bao plays in the rain (and falls off a tree branch)
Bao Bao’s first snow day.
Bao Bao holds ice on a hot day in 2015.
Bao Bao celebrates her second birthday — and becomes a big sister!
Bao Bao turns 3!