Bao Bao, the Smithsonian National Zoo's giant female panda, boarded FedEx's "Panda Express" on Tuesday to make her way back China.
"As part of the Zoo's cooperative long-term breeding agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, all cubs born at the zoo move to China by the time they turn 4 years old," the zoo said in a statement.
The giant panda was born at the zoo on Aug. 23, 2014, and is the first cub to survive birth since 2005 at the time.
China owns all giant pandas in U.S. zoos and requires that cubs born here be sent back to China close to breeding age.
On Tuesday afternoon, the 3-year-old cub boarded a Boeing 777F, dubbed "Panda Express," for her first and maybe last flight. Upon arrival, she'll be entered into a breeding program to have cubs of her own. The 13-hour flight has been in preparation for quite some time now.
"We have been preparing Bao Bao for this move since the moment she was born," Brandie Smith, associate director of animal care at the National Zoo, told CNN.
Bao Bao will fly with two zoo staffers, including Marty Dearie, the first keeper to ever have his hands on Bao Bao. Dearie will then stay in a China for a few days to help her acclimate.
The zoo assured she will be well taken good care of on the flight. It's planning on taking 55 pounds of bamboo, 2 pounds of apples, two bags of biscuits, 10 gallons of water and 2 pounds of sweet potatoes.
"Pandas are very good at entertaining themselves," Smith said. "You give a panda a stalk of bamboo and they can entertain themselves for a very long time."
Bao Bao isn't drugged before the flight, Smith said, explaining the zoo wouldn't want an animal to suddenly wake up disoriented and confused on a flight.
She'll be traveling with FedEx, which is making its sixth panda flight. The team flying Bao Bao to China is familiar with exotic animal travel and will be prepared to ensure the safe arrival of the giant panda.