Move over, Pony Express. On December 4, FedEx will deploy its “Panda Express” services, transporting two giant panda bears from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport to Scotland’s Edinburgh Airport.
FedEx, which coordinated the move with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the China Wildlife Conservation Association, will carry 8-year-olds Tian Tian and Yang Guang on a Boeing 777 freighter. Animal experts will be on board the flight to ensure proper handling procedures are followed.
Once in Scotland, FedEx will provide ground transportation to ship the pandas to the Edinburgh Zoo, which has constructed a special panda enclosure for Tian Tian and Yang Guang. Their arrival to Edinburgh will mark the first time in more than 17 years that giant pandas will live in the UK.
Edinburgh Zoo CEO Hugh Roberts praised the forthcoming event as a “historic occasion.” “We have been looking forward to this moment for five years now, since the zoo first embarked on this epic journey to bring giant pandas to Scotland,” he said.
Fortunately, moving pandas by air is nothing new for FedEx. The logistics provider transported two giant panda bears from both Zoo Atlanta and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., to China in 2010.
FedEx’s Jennifer Caccavo Cordeau told Air Cargo World in May that although flying may seem traumatic for the animals, it’s actually the preferred mode of transport. “[Moving] animals by air results in less stress on the animals and enables their handlers to acclimate them in their new surroundings faster,” she said.