Panda born in US zoo returns for new life in China

San Diego zoo says goodbye to its four-year-old furry friend and prepares him for Chinese life

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 January, 2014, 7:14pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 January, 2014, 7:16pm

A giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo has been sent back to China, reports said.

The zoo said Yun Zi was crated up and driven to Los Angeles on Thursday in preparation for the flight. His keeper and a veterinarian accompanied him.

The zoo’s pandas are on loan from the Chinese government, which decides where zoo-born offspring go after they turn 3. Yun Zi turned 4 in August.

The zoo prepared Yun Zi for the trip by making the special bread he will eat in China instead of the kibble used in San Diego.

He has also been fattened up to deal with the cooler temperatures of the mountains where he will live.

China is trying to breed and preserve the pandas. Only about 1,600 are believed to remain in the wild.

Watch: How San Diego zoo celebrated when Yun Zi turned four