Giant panda Bao Bao’s journal: I'm back to my new home in China
[After a 16-hour flight, American-born panda celebrity Bao Bao finally arrived home in southwest China Wednesday night, apparently looking well. Here is Bao Bao's journal she wrote upon arrival.]
I’m Bao Bao, a three-and-a-half-year-old giant panda born and raised at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington. When my brother Taishan was born in 2005, almost everyone at the zoo expected a spree of new panda cubs. But I wasn’t born until eight years later. So they treated me as if I were a treasure. My name, Baobao, literally translates from Chinese as “treasure” or “precious”.
I always knew that once I reached into puberty, I would fly back to China according to the loan agreement. February 21 was the day. People twittered about my departure in the days before. The zoo even prepared a live show on web.
I lived a decent life in the U.S., and the people seemed to adore me. They laughed, took pictures of me, sent me presents on my birthday. Many drove hundreds of miles just to say goodbye. A young girl joined the queue to see me four times.
Thank you all for your love! Adieu, Washington! Hello, China.
Like my brother, I entered a metal crate – four feet high and six feet long. Then I was put on a FedEx flight.
It was the first time I had left the zoo. But I had plenty of food: 50 pounds of bamboo, a 25-pound bag of beet-colored panda biscuits, two pounds of apples, and two pounds of sweet potatoes.
After 16 hours, I arrived in Chengdu sound and safe. I was driven to my new home in one of the bases run by the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda. But before meeting my fans in China, I’ll have to undergo quarantine for a month at the Dujiangyan base.
That means isolation in a 100-square-meter enclosure. I will receive regular physical checks and my new keeper will record how much I eat and what activity I do and other aspects of my condition.
I hope I can adapt to the environment and the food here easily like my brother. I guess I won’t be bored, because the Sichuan dialect is a brand new language for me to learn.
I hope to see you soon.