Visitors to the National Zoo have enjoyed watching their baby panda grow up over the last four years

Bon Voyage, Tai Shan!

Tai Shan (né Butterstick), the four and a half-year-old panda, departs for Wolong’s Bifengxia Base in Ya’an, Sichuan

smithsonian.com

The dreaded day has come folks—Tai Shan (né Butterstick), the four and a half-year-old panda will depart for Wolong's Bifengxia Base in Ya'an, Sichuan today, February 4, by way of FedEx. (Yes, apparently they have panda-sized envelopes.)

Though sad for us, the little guy may not be too despondent over going to a panda research facility where he'll (hopefully) help bolster the panda population by making a few babies. And did I mention that he will have a traveling companion? Mei Lan, a 3-year-old female panda from the Atlanta Zoo. May their romantic trip high above the Pacific Ocean be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Check out the video above for those of you out there who would like to remember all the wonderful things about little Tai Shan during his short stay here.

About Jesse Rhodes

Jesse Rhodes is an editorial assistant for Smithsonian magazine. Before he became an editorial assistant, Jesse worked at the Library of Congress Publishing Office, where he was a contributor to the Library of Congress World War II Companion.

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