ATLANTA, Feb. 4 (UPI) — Zoo Atlanta officials said the tourist site’s beloved panda, Mei Lan, began its journey to China Thursday by flying to Washington.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said once Mei Lan arrives in Washington, the female panda will reunite with male panda Tai Shan of the National Zoo and the pair will board a 14-hour FedEx Express flight to China.
Zoo Atlanta officials said they had no problems placing the popular animal in a crate for transport, using a treat of sugar cane to appease the panda.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said relocating to China will allow Mei Lan to help increase the population of its endangered species.
There are nearly 1,600 giant pandas living in the wild worldwide. In China alone, nearly 300 members of the endangered species live in captivity.
The Journal-Constitution said Mei Lan’s departure leaves Zoo Atlanta with three remaining giant pandas named Xi Lan, Lun Lun and Yang Yang.
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