(NBC News) Washington, D.C. said “bye bye” to Bao Bao Tuesday.
The 3-year-old giant panda that captured hearts and imaginations at the Smithsonian National Zoo is on her way to her new home in China.
From the time she was born at the National Zoo in Washington, Bao Bao was a fan favorite.
More than 40,000 visited her over the weekend, her last in America.
A deal with China means Bao Bao has to go to her ancestral homeland.
“It’s very bittersweet for us at the National Zoo to see her go, but it’s my hope, it’s my dream that Bao Bao’s offspring, her descendants will be once reintroduced back into the wild in China,” said Smithosonian National Zoo director Dennis Kelly.
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