FedEx Express is helping give two giant pandas a good home.
The pandas — Er Shun, a five-year-old female, and Da Mao, a four-year-old male – are traveling from Chengdu, China to Toronto using a dedicated charter flight on an MD-11F. The aircraft is named the FedEx Panda Express.
Animal care experts from both China and Canada have been granted special flight privileges to accompany the pandas on the aircraft. The pandas are scheduled to arrive in Canada in spring.
Er Shun and Da Mao will spend five years at the Toronto Zoo, followed immediately by another five years at the Calgary Zoo in Alberta. This marks the first time in 20 years that giant pandas have been loaned to a Canadian zoo.
Conservationists estimate that around 2,000 giant pandas remain in the wild.
The Memphis Zoo in Tennessee will feed the pandas. Bamboo harvested locally by the Memphis Zoo provides food for its own giant pandas and will be delivered to the Toronto Zoo via FedEx Express two to three times per week. Memphis Zoo horticulture team members will cut roughly 700 pounds of bamboo per shipment and immediately refrigerate the stalks to keep them fresh. FedEx will then collect the bamboo and fly the stalks to Toronto.
Adult giant pandas eat an average of 100 pounds of bamboo per day.
This upcoming panda shipment is the sixth flight of the FedEx Panda Express. The first was in 2000.