San Diego Zoo Kicks Off 3-Week Farewell Celebration for Its Last 2 Giant Pandas

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Hua Mei and Bai Yun are seen in an undated photo provided by the San Diego Zoo.

Hua Mei and Bai Yun are seen in an undated photo provided by the San Diego Zoo.

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The San Diego Zoo is saying goodbye to two big, furry superstars.

The zoo on Saturday began a three-week farewell celebration for its last two giant pandas. Bai Yun, a 27-year-old female, and her 6-year-old son, Xiao Liwu, will be sent to China this spring.

April 27 is the last day pandas can be viewed by the public.

A male, Gao Gao, returned to China last October.

For more than two decades the zoo was part of an international effort to save the panda species, which at one point was on the verge of extinction and is now listed as vulnerable.

Several cubs were born at the zoo, helping to repopulate the species.

There are now nearly 2,000 pandas in China.

In the U.S., pandas can still be found at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., Zoo Atlanta and the Memphis Zoo.

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