Yesterday, three giant pandas left the National Zoo in DC and headed to China. This marked the end of over 50 years of the Chinese pandas being at the zoo. The final pandas left in the US are in Atlanta but they will also depart for China but next year. Here is how the pandas were flown to China.
The Giant Pandas Flew to China on Fedex “Panda Express”
Fedex actually donated the transport for this project aboard their Panda Express plane, a specially equipped and decaled Boeing 777F. The plane departed Washington Dulles airport yesterday (Wednesday) at 12:50PM – 25 minutes ahead of schedule. It went from Washington to Anchorage, arriving at 3:56PM local time.
It left about 45 minutes late out of Anchorage for Chengdu, China, making this leg of the journey in 11 hours and 43 minutes and arriving at 11:26PM. This was a journey that took over 21 hours to complete.
The pandas had the plane to themselves, as far as “cargo” went. The other supplies onboard were all for the three pandas:
- 220 pounds of bamboo
- 8 pounds of leaf-eater biscuits
- 5 pounds of low-starch biscuits
- 6 pounds of apples
- 5 pounds of carrots
- 6 pounds of sweet potatoes
- 3 pounds of sugar cane
- 1 pound of pears
- 1 pound of cooked squash
They were transported in custom travel crates, one for each. The panda team had been acclimating the pandas to these enclosures over the past few weeks. Now that they have arrived in China, they will be quarantined for 30 days.
Here is a look at the “accommodations” the pandas had for the 20+ hour journey.