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National Zoo plans goodbye party for panda

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 is sent to China.
National Zoo Panda
Tai Shan, the National Zoo's giant panda cub, plays in a tree at his home at the zoo in this photo from 2006.Ann Batdorf / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

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 is sent to 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. It is not clear, though, what day Tai Shan will depart.