Tai Shan, the prized panda and star of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., peers out during his press debut in November 2005. Tai Shan, who was born at the Smithsonian Institution park, will be sent to China, his ancestral home, in early 2010. Pandas born at the zoo belong to China, according to an agreement, and a two-year extension given to Tai Shan is now up.
August 30, 2005: An infant Tai Shan is examined by National Zoo staff. The giant panda was conceived through an artificial insemination process. His parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, are on a 10-year, $10 million loan to the zoo until 2010.
Newscom/Smithsonian National Zoo/Jessie Cohen/MCT
February 12, 2006: His first time in the snow, the young cub plays with his mother, Mei Xiang.
Newscom/Ann Batdorf/Smithsonian National Zoo
February 14, 2006: During her stay, Tai Shan has been no stranger to visiting luminaries. First Lady Laura Bush looks in on the seven month-old.
Newscom/Shealah Craighhead/The White House/KRT
July 3, 2006: Nearly a year old, the giant panda has become quite comfortable with his surroundings. His first birthday was celebrated with big public bash at the Zoo.
Newscom/Ann Batdorf /Smithsonian National Zoo
July 9, 2009: Tai Shan celebrates his fourth birthday with a giant bamboo “cake.”
December 4, 2009: Tai Shan will now move to the Sichuan Province in China to participate in a breeding program run by the Chinese government.