Goodbye, Tai Shan: National Zoo panda being sent to China
Tai Shan is heading to China on Thursday, 4 1/2 years after he was born at the National Zoo, becoming an instant celebrity. Remember when he was so tiny he was compared to a stick of butter? Or when he was a little puffball no bigger than a stuffed teddy bear?
Washington residents came to think of Tai Shan as our panda, but he is actually owned by China. His parents, mother Mei Xiang and father Tian Tian are also on loan to the zoo from China, and it was always known that any offspring would be sent to China for breeding. Tai Shan has reached the age when he can father babies of his own, so he is being sent to a program aimed at increasing the number of pandas. Wednesday will be his last day in the Panda House.
Kids have loved growing up with Tai Shan, so when we asked readers to send in their goodbye cards for him, we saw lots of emotion and creativity. Here are some of our favorites.