On Wednesday, November 8, the airline FedEx released an interesting video showing that it has “converted” one of its large cargo planes, affixing it to the FedEx Panda Express.
According to the pictures below, a Boeing 777F with registration number N886FD was chosen to take pictures and carry out a very special air mission:
Specially wrapped for some wonderful guests. ✈️🐼💜 pic.twitter.com/XFMiclweQY
— FedEx (@FedEx) November 8, 2023
Giant pandas Tian Tian (Tie-Yen-Tee-Yen), Mei Xiang (Mai-Shong), and Xiao Qi Ji (Xiao-Chi-Jie) began their journey from the United States to China on Wednesday morning.
They departed the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) at 9:31 a.m. for Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia, where they boarded a dedicated Boeing 777F FedEx Panda Express. The approximately 19-hour trans-Pacific flight from Washington, D.C., to Chengdu, China, included a brief refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska.
Before the trip, the panda team finished preparations for departure. After eating breakfast, each panda entered their designated travel box, which they had become accustomed to over the past few weeks. The boxes of Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and Xiao Zhi Jie were transferred one by one to a forklift that carefully exited the David M. Rubinstein family’s giant panda habitat. They were then loaded onto FedEx trucks and left the zoo.
The specialized travel boxes are made of steel and plexiglass and each weigh about 800 pounds (363 kg). They were accompanied by assistant giant panda curator Laurie Thompson, animal keeper Mariel Lally and supervising veterinarian James Steele. NZCBI staff continuously monitored Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and Xiao Qi Ji throughout the trip.
Zoo staff traveled with approximately 220 pounds of bamboo, 8 pounds of pretzels, 5 pounds of low-starch crackers, 6 pounds of apples, 5 pounds of carrots, 6 pounds of sweet potatoes, 3 pounds of cane sugar, and 1 lb. . 1 kilo of pears and 1 kilo of cooked pumpkin.
Upon their arrival in Chengdu, new panda keepers from the China Center for Giant Panda Conservation and Research met them at the airport and took them to the ShenShuPing Campus in Wolong, where they will remain in quarantine for about 30 days.
NZCBI staff will monitor the panda and stay with her for a few days until she acclimatizes to her new home. Xiao Qi Ji will enter the giant panda breeding program when she reaches sexual maturity between 6 and 7 years of age.
The Panda Team had Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and Xiao Zhi Jie ready to move to ensure that they were comfortable and safe during the trip. To slowly adapt to the travel crates, the keepers asked the panda to pass by it every day. Once they became comfortable doing this, they became accustomed to spending short periods of time with the doors closed.
Mei Xiang, 25, and Tian Tian, 26, arrived in Washington, D.C., in 2000, becoming the second pair of giant pandas to live at the zoo. Her first three children, Tai Shan (born 2005), Bao Bao (born 2013), and Bai Bai (born 2015), are thriving in China. Tai Shan and Bao Bao even gave birth to their own puppies.
With the birth of Xiao Zhijie (“little miracle” in English) in 2020, when Mei Xiang was 22 years old, Mei Xiang became the oldest giant panda to give birth in the United States and the second oldest documented in the world. Xiao Zhijie’s birth was the first outside China from artificial insemination using only frozen and thawed semen, demonstrating the value and essential role of systematic biobanking in species conservation. All six Bears have created a living legacy of fans that spans generations and countries.
From birth and first steps to chewing bamboo and playing in the snow, Giant Panda Camera (Giant panda camera) from NZCBI connected fans around the world to amazing moments with Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and their puppies. Since its launch, Giant Panda Cam has had over 100 million page views.
In 2020, at the height of the epidemic, more than 639,000 people tuned in to watch Mei Xiang give birth to Xiao Zhijie. Giant Panda Cam is offline now that the giant pandas have left for China. Virtual visitors can still entertain others Webcams From the NZCBI with Asian elephants, naked mole rats and African lions, as well as makeshift webcams like the Cheetah Cub Cam.
“When Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and Xiao Zhijie leave for their new home in China, they leave a tremendous legacy in Washington, D.C.”NZCBI Director Brandy Smith said. “It is exciting and rewarding that people from all over the world have followed these pandas, shared our joy and encouraged our success. I am extremely proud of our animal welfare experts and researchers, whose observations and research into the biology, behaviour, reproduction, health and habitat of the giant panda helped remove it from the endangered species list.” .As this chapter of our program Huge panda Until the end, we remain committed to the conservation of this species and look forward to continued cooperation with our Chinese colleagues.
The NZCBI celebrated it Cooperative Agreement for Giant Panda Breeding and Research With the China Wildlife Conservation Society in December 2000, when Mei Xiang and Tian Tian arrived at the zoo. While this week’s departure represents a landmark moment in NZCBI’s success in animal care and conservation, NZCBI remains committed to continuing its efforts to ensure and protect a healthy future for giant pandas and their habitats.
For more than 51 years, the NZCBI has led one of… The most important panda conservation programs From the world. In collaboration with Chinese colleagues, the Smithsonian team has made significant contributions to global knowledge of giant panda biology, behavior, reproduction, health and habitat.
Joint programs to train the next generation of skilled animal care and research professionals ensure that giant pandas continue to thrive in human and wild care for generations to come. A united effort to create and share knowledge saves this species from extinction.
The giant panda is no longer listed as a threatened species, and is now classified as “vulnerable” in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are about 1,800 in the wild.
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