A giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo is being sent to China.

The zoo says Yun Zi was crated up and driven to Los Angeles on Thursday in preparation for the flight. His keeper and a veterinarian will accompany him.

The zoo's pandas are on loan from the Chinese government, which decides where zoo-born offspring go after they turn three. Yun Zi turned four in August.

The zoo prepared Yun Zi for the trip by making the special bread the panda will eat in China instead of the kibble used in San Diego. The animal has also been fattened up to deal with the cooler temperatures of the mountains where it'll be living in China.

China is trying to breed and preserve the pandas. Only about 1,600 are believed to remain in the wild.