The end is near for arguably the best tourist attraction at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
Three giant pandas that have been on loan from China — with two of the three having lived at the zoo for more than two decades — are set to return to their homeland.
Tian Tian, age 26; Mei Xiang, age 25; and Xiao Qi Ji, age 3, will travel by plane back to China in late November or early December, with the zoo saying they’ll be leaving by Dec. 7.
The pandas are currently in Washington, D.C. because of a loan agreement established between the zoo and the Chinese government.
A 2000 agreement stipulated that Mei Xiang and Tian Tian would live at the zoo for 10 years in exchange for $10 million, according to the zoo’s website.
The arrangement was extended to 2015, 2020 and then again to 2023.
Xiao Qi Ji was born to Mei Xiang and Tian Tian on Aug. 21, 2020.
In late August, all three pandas celebrated their birthdays, the last time the zoo put on birthday celebrations for them before they depart.
Below are photos of the pandas through the years from Getty Images.