Saturday, December 3, 2011

Panda Family Flies to Scotland for the Holidays

Talk about holiday surprises.  First it was the Ruby Slippers coming to town for a pre-Christmas showcase at New York's toney Plaza Athenee Hotel.  All done up and polished for a High Tea designed to inspire Mother-Daughter Lovefests.  And perhaps a shoe shopping spree at Manolo, Jimmy and Christian's...

Now it's our favorite cuddly, one we loved on our family vacation to China:  the Panda!

Working in conjunction with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) in China, two pandas from Sichuan Province in China are being brought to Edinburgh for the pleasure and admiration of zoo-goers.

To make the trip safe and comfortable for them (and that's a must), our trusted FedEx Express will fly them non-stop from Chengdu Airport in China to Edinburgh Airport in Scotland on a specially-chartered Boeing 777F known as the "FedEx Panda Express."

The traveling panda family includes Tian Tian (甜甜, aka Sweetie), an 8-year-old female and Yang Guang (阳光, aka Sunshine), an 8-year-old male panda from Chengdu's Bifengxia Panda Base.  According to FedEx, who's been charged with loading them onto the world's largest twin-engine aircraft (see video this Boeing 777F being transformed for the flight), this is the first time in more than 17 years that giant pandas will reside in the United Kingdom. The UK's last giant panda, Ming Ming, left London Zoo to return to China on October 26, 1994.

Currently, conservationists estimate that only 1,600 pandas remain in the wild. Both Tian Tian and Yang Guang are part of global giant panda conservation programs, designed to increase the panda population.  These pandas are also part of a lucrative "rental" business between the China conservation groups and Western countries, says The New York Times, who can pay millions to have the crowd-pleasing creatures on multi-year contracts in their zoos.

For now, follow the Panda Family Blog at We'll come back to you with more of the load in process, family farewell departure and arrival of these two giant pandas soon...  Will there be bagpipes?

1 comment:

  1. We've learned that the pandas did arrive safe and sound in Scotland. While they had no trouble with the forklifts that moved their crates, when they were put onto a conveyor belt to exit the cargo plane hold, they were really curious as to what made them move sideways!

    No bagpipes on arrival, just a quiet and loving greeting by zoologists from Edinburgh in their plaid kilts!