Giant panda comes through Los Angeles on way to new life in China

Panda First Exam Playtime

Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo/AP

File: In this Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 photo released by the San Diego Zoo, taken Xiao Liwu, the giant panda cub is examined by zoo veterinarians at the zoo in San Diego. Xiao Liwu appears to enjoy the attention and new toys he was given during his weekly exam. The new play items included a sitting doughnut- shaped plastic ring, a stick of bamboo and a plastic ball.

A giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo is being sent to China.

The zoo says Yun Zi was crated up and driven to Los Angeles on Thursday in preparation for the flight. His keeper and a veterinarian will accompany him.

The zoo's pandas are on loan from the Chinese government, which decides where zoo-born offspring go after they turn 3. Yun Zi turned 4 in August.

The zoo prepared Yun Zi for the trip by making the special bread he'll eat in China instead of the kibble used in San Diego. He's also been fattened up to deal with the cooler temperatures of the mountains where he'll live.

China is trying to breed and preserve the pandas. Only about 1,600 are believed to remain in the wild.

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