Chinese pandas touch down in Scotland on the 'FedEx Panda Express'
Dec 07, 2011
FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. has announced the safe arrival of two giant pandas, Tian Tian (aka Sweetie), an eight-year-old female panda, and Yang Guang (aka Sunshine), an eight year-old male panda from Chengdu's Bifengxia Panda Base to Edinburgh International Airport in Scotland.
Working in conjunction with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) in China, the specially chartered Boeing 777F flight known as the "FedEx Panda Express" landed in Scotland on December 4, 2011 at approximately 1:00 p.m. The arrival of the pandas marks the first time in more than 17 years that giant pandas will reside in the UK.
The non-stop flight was chartered especially for the VIPsVery Important Pandasand the pair travelled in custom-built enclosures provided by FedEx Express. The in-flight meals of bamboo, apples, carrots, a special panda cake and mineral water were served to the pandas who spent the journey eating snacks and snoozing. Tian Tian and Yang Guang were accompanied by a veterinarian and two animal handlers from Edinburgh Zoo and the Bifengxia Panda Base to look after their needs throughout the journey.
FedEx Express donated its logistical services for the transportation, providing an expert team to ensure the rare animals' safety. During the flight, the pandas were in the safe hands of seasoned pilots Captain Paul Cassel, Captain Bob Gasko, Captain Jim Gorman and Captain Bill McDonald, who all have extensive experience in transporting some of the world's most precious cargo, ranging from white rhinos to penguins.
"I am delighted to confirm that the FedEx Panda Express has safely touched down at Edinburgh International Airport," said Captain Paul Cassell, FedEx Express. "It was an absolute privilege and honor to fly Tian Tian and Yang Guang, and to be part of this significant moment to bring the pandas to their new home in the UK. Although every flight is unique, this flight has been particularly specialcarrying such rare animals made the journey very exciting for all of us."
The pandas continued their journey in a specially-decaled FedEx Express vehicle to deliver them to their new home at Edinburgh Zoo. The Lothian and Borders Police Force were also on hand to ensure a smooth ride. Upon arrival, the pandas will reside together in Edinburgh Zoo's specially-built giant panda enclosure.