FedEx has succeeded in their mission of delivering three Panda bears back to China via a 19-hour long flight. The Pandas arrived in Chengdu, China, on Thursday, according to the FedEx newsroom.
The National Zoo in Washington DC was home to three Panda Bears, Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and their cub Xiao Qi Ji, who were picked up by FedEx on Wednesday morning, to be shipped back to China.
As reported by the FedEx newsroom, this flight for the Pandas was in collaboration with the Conservation Biology Institute and Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
Richard Smith, president and chief executive officer, Airline and International, FedEx, said, “We are deeply honoured to again serve as the transportation provider of giant pandas. The safe delivery of Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and Xiao Qi Ji is a testament to the company’s commitment and ability to securely ship precious cargo.”
“I remember fondly when we brought Mei Xiang and Tian Tian over decades ago, and we are proud to once again be entrusted with transporting these beloved animals through our global network,” he continued.
WTOP news reported that a FedEx spokesperson told that the Pandas will have loads of space to eat, play and move around on their “first-class” trip. The plane would have large crates filled with biscuits and toys as well as around 300 pounds of bamboo.
The pandas were exposed to their crates beforehand to have them familiarize with the space before they embark on their flight.
A truck carried the Pandas to Dulles International Airport in Virginia and were boarded on to a massive Boeing 777, dubbed as “Panda Express.”
As per Insider, Captain Ron Zampini, a 777-chief pilot for FedEx, told the outlet it would be his first time flying with pandas, adding, "It's the highlight of my career, certainly with FedEx."
Pandas in the US have been on loan from China as “Panda diplomacy” and the leases are not being renewed, hence the bears are leaving. This week and onwards only 4 more panda bears will remain in the US, at Zoo Atlanta until their lease expires next year.
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