- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Officials at the Smithsonian Institution said Monday that a popular young giant panda will leave Washington’s National Zoo on Feb. 4 for China.

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough said Tai Shan would travel by FedEx to China, along with 3-year-old female panda Mei Lan from Zoo Atlanta.

Zoo officials announced in December that Tai Shan would be sent to China for breeding. He has been one of the biggest attractions at the zoo since his birth in 2005, but he is property of China.

Tai Shan’s parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are on a 10-year, $10 million loan that expires in December.

The last full day for visitors to see Tai Shan will be Feb. 3.

China lends pandas to four U.S. zoos — in Atlanta, Washington, San Diego and Memphis, Tenn.

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