Tai Shan (tie-SHON), the first surviving giant panda cub born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, will be sent to The People’s Republic of China early in the first quarter of 2010, as stipulated in the agreement between the Zoo and the Chinese government. The exact date of his departure has not been determined due to the lengthy process of finalizing permits preparing Tai Shan for the trip.
Under the agreement, giant panda cubs born at the National Zoo belong to China and are to be sent to the Wolong's Beifengxia Base in Ya'an, Sichuan sometime after the cub turns two. In April 2007, shortly before his second birthday, China granted the National Zoo a two-year extension for Tai Shan to remain in Washington, D.C.; that extension expired in July but the Zoo was provided a second extension to January 2010.
Tai Shan was born at 3:41 a.m. July 9, 2005, weighing only a few ounces at birth. The first cub for mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and father Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), he was conceived through artificial insemination March 11, 2005, in a procedure performed by National Zoo scientists and veterinarians.
Photo Credit: Mehgan Murphy/Smithsonian's National Zoo