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National Zoo prepares to bid farewell to giant panda Tai Shan

January 8, 2010 |  7:44 pm

Taishan WASHINGTON — The Friends of the National Zoo will host a "Farewell to Tai Shan" party at the end of the month before the 4-year-old giant panda leaves for China.

The group announced Thursday that it will hold the goodbye party in Washington on Jan. 30. Zoo officials said in December that Tai Shan will be leaving under an agreement with the Chinese government.

The agreement that brought Tai Shan's mother, Mei Xiang, and father, Tian Tian, to the zoo calls for any panda offspring to be returned to China for breeding.

A zoo spokeswoman says the event will be the main public farewell for Tai Shan. Panda fans will be able to write goodbye cards, and experts will be on hand. It's not clear, though, what day Tai Shan will depart.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Tai Shan sleeps in a tree in his enclosure at the National Zoo.  Credit: Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images

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