Goodbye Tai Shan

February 5th, 2010

Inspired by Mark your calendar: Feb. 3 is Tai Shan’s last public showing (Washington Post 1/26/10), For Tai Shan’s keeper, a sentimental journey (Washington Post 1/30/10), In the cold, hearts melt in a last goodbye to Tai Shan (Washington Post 1/31/10), Goodbyes as a bear of good karma is borne off to China (Washington Post 2/04/10), With tears but no trouble, Washington sends Tai Shan to China, and For Tai Shan, voyage to China is a trip to obscurity and sex (Washington Post 2/05/10).

     Tai Shan went back to China yesterday,

Leaving on a Jet Plane (it’s a long way).

     Tai Shan was born in the USA,

So why did he have to go back yesterday?

Unfortunately, that was the deal when his parents came over:

He could only stay for a limited time, and now that time’s over.

     In fact, he was supposed to go back when he was two,

But the Chinese gave two one-year extensions to the National Zoo.

The good news (for Tai Shan) is the reason he’s leaving

Is to take part in China’s program for giant panda conceiving.

     Four seems young, but it’s old enough to breed,

Which for the panda population is what they desperately need.

In fact, on the flight to China, Tai Shan’s flying companion

Is a 3 year old female panda named Mei Lan.

     Its too bad Tai Shan’s parents Mei Xiang and Tian Tian had no other offspring–

With pandas, making that happen is not an easy thing.

Females can only conceive for two days a year

(One reason why pandas in the wild started to disappear).

     Tai Shan’s parents are also scheduled to return at the end of the year

According to the agreement to which the Zoo must adhere.

The Zoo’s previous pandas were a permanent gift, but died without issue

(If they’d had children, the borrowed pandas wouldn’t be an issue).

     So the Zoo may have just one more chance to give Tai Shan a sister or brother.

If they miss this one, they may not get another.

If it doesn’t, hopefully the Chinese will lend us another pair

(It’s bad to be so dependent, but you can only get them there).

     The same for healthcare reform can also be said—

If we don’t get it through this time it will surely be dead.

This is the best chance we’ve had in over a century.

So come on you political pandas — get busy!

     And you political pandas, if you too don’t want to risk going extinct,

Remember your own fate to healthcare reform is linked.

A legislator’s main function is to create legislation,

And not being able to do that may lead to your extermination.


See the National Zoo website for pictures and more info. To support panda preservation, click here to donate to WWF and/or adopt a giant panda.

Here’s a VOA report on Tai Shan and other pandas “on loan” to the US from China.

Here’s AP video of Tai Shan on his way to China.

Here’s a nicely done retrospective of Tai Shan’s early years, set to music.

Here’s John Denver performing the titular song (click here to download it from our Amazon store, or on the icon below to download it and other songs free with a trial Real VIP pass).

John Denver wrote it, but I actually like Peter, Paul and Mary’s version better (download that here).

This however is my favorite version (just kidding, but I do like the movie – especially the “we win Gracie” scene).

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