Pandas leave DC, Atlanta for new homes in China

WASHINGTON (AP) - Tai Shan, the young panda born in Washington four years ago, has left the National Zoo for a new home in China.

Zookeepers fed him apple and pear slices by hand through bars in his shipping crate Thursday before he left. Tai Shan (TY-shawn) munched calmly and looked out through plexiglass windows.

U.S. Park Police will help escort a caravan including a FedEx truck carrying Tai Shan to Washington Dulles International Airport.

Zookeepers had to delay the departure a few minutes to avoid a motorcade for President Barack Obama.

The beloved bear will travel with Atlanta panda Mei Lan (MAY LAHN) on their own FedEx jet to China. A veterinarian and animal keeper will travel with Tai Shan for the 14-hour flight.

The American-born pandas will quarantined for 30 days in China.

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