Here in Cleveland, spring could still be many weeks away, but at least the calendar says it’s now March, so hope, if not necessarily warmth, is in the air. No better time, than, for another heartwarming story of the tender loving care that goes into the transportation of giant pandas. At the risk of pandering (panda-ing?) to my audience, here’s the latest in our Extreme Logistics series focusing on cuddly animals. This post is guaranteed to have absolutely nothing to do with sequesters, fiscal cliffs or tax reform… just adorable marsupials on an international voyage.
Er Shun, a five-year-old female panda, and Da Mao, her younger male consort (being a mere four years old), will be riding aboard the Panda Express this spring, a special MD-11F aircraft operated by FedEx Express. In a PR stunt that obviously has worked well (this is the second time we’ve written about panda transportation), FedEx is donating both its logistics know-how and the transportation costs to move these two giant pandas from Chengdu, China, to the Toronto Zoo in Canada.
Toronto will be the pandas’ home for the next five years, after which they’ll move on across the country to the Calgary Zoo. This is the first time since the 1990s that giant pandas have been loaned to a Canadian zoo, and according to some estimates, there are only 2,000 or so giant pandas still living in the wild.
The bamboo that the pandas will eat will be shipped by FedEx from the Memphis Zoo, which grows bamboo for its own pair of giant pandas. Giant pandas typically eat as much as 100 pounds of bamboo per day, so FedEx will be making a lot of pickups and deliveries of the foodstuff. According to FedEx, the Memphis Zoo will cut about 700 pounds of bamboo per shipment from its bamboo farm, and then refrigerate it. FedEx will collect the bamboo and fly it to to Toronto zoo.
Here’s a short video showing the pandas and the preparations being made for their transoceanic journey.