Pan­da express: Ani­mal lovers bid farewell to fur­ry friends leav­ing DC zoo

Social media users are express­ing sad­ness but also shar­ing moments of joy over the Smith­son­ian Nation­al Zoo’s beloved giant pan­das, who began their trip back to Chi­na on Wednes­day morn­ing.
Giant pan­das Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and their three-year-old cub Xiao Qi Ji left the Smithsonian’s Nation­al Zoo and Con­ser­va­tion Biol­o­gy Insti­tute and arrived at Dulles Inter­na­tion­al Air­port. They will trav­el aboard the FedEx Pan­da Express on a 19-hour flight from Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to Cheng­du, Chi­na, on their way to the Chi­na Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety.
Sev­er­al social media users, local gov­ern­ments, and jour­nal­ists took to X, for­mer­ly Twit­ter, on Wednes­day to share memes, poke fun, and alto­geth­er say good­bye to the pan­das as the zoo pre­pares to open for the first time in 23 years with the pan­da exhib­it remain­ing closed.
Liz Char­boneau, vice pres­i­dent of research at Amer­i­can Bridge 21st Cen­tu­ry, post­ed a meme from the pop­u­lar TV show Suc­ces­sion in response to a video show­ing the FedEx trucks car­ry­ing the pan­das’ crates to Dulles. The post has received over 105,000 views and over 1,500 likes.

Noah Sad­lier, com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor for Rep. John James (R‑MI), dubbed Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” over the same video.

Not pass­ing up an oppo …