DC Bids Bye Bye to Bao Bao
© 2017 angela n.
February 14, 2017
Washingtonians have loved watching Bao Bao grow up. She was just six weeks old when the 2013 government shutdown darkened the National Zoo panda cam. Some federal workers suddenly had lots of free time, but sadly no panda cub video stream to fill those hours. When the shutdown ended, the Today Show reported, "Our 16-day national nightmare is over: The panda cam is back." Within ten minutes, the panda cam reached its maximum viewing capacity, according to the New Yorker.

In 2014, Bao Bao was voted the most popular item in the Smithsonian collections, beating the Star Spangled Banner flag.  Bao Bao even inspired a Vox think piece supporting birthright citizenship for pandas.
angela lives in DC. When she is not working or taking pictures, she is very busy binge-watching the panda cam. All opinions are her own.
Bye Bye Bao Bao party
Bye Bye Bao Bao party
Bye Bye Bao Bao party
Bye Bye Bao Bao party
Bao Bao's attempt at abstract expressionism
Farewell messages at the Bye Bye Bao Bao party
Three-year-old Bao Bao, February 2017
Three-year-old Bao Bao, November 2016
Two-year-old Bao Bao, January 2016
Bao Bao's 1st birthday "cake" (made of frozen apple juice and beet juice). The fast-melting cake's structural integrity was questionable at this point. A few seconds later, the cake's "1" snapped off and Bao Bao toppled to the ground. The crowd gasped, then saw she was fine and started laughing.
Five-month old Bao Bao with keeper Marty, who will accompany her on her upcoming flight to China.
Five-month old Bao Bao, January 2014
Four-month-old Bao Bao at her public debut, January 2014
告別寶寶 (Farewell Bao Bao)

But alas, on February 21, our beloved panda princess will leave us for a breeding facility in China. Last Saturday, the National Zoo threw a farewell party. Her many fans wore panda-themed attire and watched her chomp American bamboo one last time.

All images © angela n.


Mei Xiang and four-month-old Bao Bao at her public debut, January 2014