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Good-Bye Party Bash For Beloved National Zoo Panda

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Tai Shan leaves for China on Thursday morning.
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Tai Shan leaves for China on Thursday morning.

By Mana Rabiee

Throngs of well-wishers are saying their final fare-wells to Tai Shan, the teenage giant panda that's leaving the National Zoo for a new life in his native China.

The snow may have deterred some but die hard fans of the 4-year-old panda came to his good-bye party bash at the National Zoo in northwest Washington, which included performances of traditional Chinese music and dance.

"As hard as it is for us here in D.C. to say good-bye, he's going on to bigger and better things," says Nicole Meese, who is Tai Shan's principle keeper. "He's going to be part of a breeding program and for an adolescent panda, that's the best possible thing he could be doing right now."

Tai Shan leaves the U.S. Thursday morning on a non-stop FedEx flight to Chengdu, China.

The public may view him through Wednesday afternoon at the zoo's Giant Panda Habitat.

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