Chinese Automaker 'Adopts' Panda Tai Shan

Chinese car company will pay $150K for DC treasure
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2010 4:14 PM CST
Chinese Automaker 'Adopts' Panda Tai Shan
Trainer Nicole Meese feeds giant panda Tai Shan as he waits to be loaded onto a cargo plane and shipped back to China, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010, at Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Va.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Giant panda Tai Shan arrived in China today after nearly 5 years in Washington, DC, and found a nice surprise waiting for him: a corporate sponsorship. Sichuan Auto Industry Group will pay $150,000 for a lifelong claim to Tai Shan, along with $90,000 annually for his food and medical costs. The native of the National Zoo will be living at the Bifengxia Panda Base, a facility run by the Chinese government.

Unimpressed by his new deal and none the worse for the 15½-hour flight from the US, the panda "was in good spirits" on arrival, his new keeper said. The company plans to use the new adoptee for promotional photos—Tai Shan "will take the role of our image ambassador in the future," a Sichuan Auto exec told the Washington Post, "which is good for polishing our brand and expanding our fame." (Read more Tai Shan stories.)

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